The Oregon daily journal. (Portland, Or.) 1902-1972, October 31, 1920, Page 59, Image 59

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Comprehensive Work of State Industrial
Accident Commission Builds Injured
Workmen Anew in Mind and Muscle
By Earl CBrownlec
TVTHEN Lauis Anderson regained
" consciousness be discovered
himself possessed of limp and use
less legs where once were sturdy
muscles and solid flesh. Faintly
he recalled the day when he fell
from a ship's scaffold a strong-,
active youth to the hold's bottom,,
where fellow workmen found him
a physical wreck.
Fallowed a year of ceaseless
pain, his untrained mind unafble to
conceive the pursuit of happiness
without the bodily energies he had
known. From the waist down
Louis Anderson is paralyzed. To
what goal could a man who knew
little but the labor of his hands ex
pect limp legs to carry him? It
was then that prayers for surcease
from pain beset the boy he want
ed relief and asked that death
might be his panacea.
But today Anderson is wonder
fully happy and wonderfully able
as he pulls himself about in a wheel
chair or practices with the crutches
that he hopes some day will prove
a means of locomotion. He' is pre
paring rapidly, brilliantly, for a
new place in the scheme of affairs
that meant to him two years ago
nothing but hard labor. Before
long he will be listed among Ore
gon's professional men as an ar
chitect. He will know the delight
of conception and achievement, of
planning work for other hands to
build as he once built; to bid and
see men do his bidding.
It was when despair was deepest
that the Oregon state Industrial ac
cident commission took in hand the
case of Louis Anderson, and It has
been under the careful guidance of
the commission that the torments
of muscle spasms that used to tear -his
body have been halted and his
hatyds have been directed to obey
the will of a mind that is being
trained to conceive and to achieve
on the conception. .
How the commission has served
Anderson makes a mighty Interest
ing story when the telling is left
to Will T. Kirk, who, as a member
of the commission, is In charge of
the physical and vocational reha
bilitation of workmen Injured in
Oregon Industry.
Briefly, the "Bystem" is this, in
the Anderson case:
Anderson was sent to a hospital
and there, under care of the best
physicians and surgeons available,
he was started toward physical re
habilitation. There is little chance
for a restoration of the power of
his limbs, but a former federal re
construction aide called Into the
service of the commission has
stopped the pain and made possible
the use of a wheel chair and
crutches since she took charge on
June 1 for a course of physiothe
rapy. When the body was sufficiently
reclaimed the commission, under
the direction of Professor Frank
H. Shepherd, head of the depart
ment of industrial education at the
Oregon Agricultural college and
director of vocational . rehabilita
tion for the accident commission,
started a mentf training.
Consulting with Anderson, Shep
herd discovered the young man's
desire to become an architect.
Competent instructors were avail-!
able and a training course was
mapped out. Shortly Anderson
will be released from the hospital
after 18 months of confinement,
and he will then be nearly ready
to assume a position as a daughts
man. In the meantime his train
ing will continue and when it s
completed he will be a full-fledged
While Anderson has been treated
physically and vocationally the
commission has paid every cost.
It has provided him with a general
monthly benefit of $32.50. and
when he started his vocational
training $30 was added each month.
Had he a wife his award would
be, under ordinary circumstances.
$87.50 and tor each child the
award would be increased $5. to a
, maximum of $112.50, entirely aside
from the medical and surgical costs
of the rehabilitation program and
in addition to aril costs of tuition
and training fees in the vocational
O. X Mathews, auto electrician,
is the same man who was injured
many months ago in a shipyard
and who knew no special trade
whereby, in his reclaimed state, he
could find a livelihood. His train
ing at the hands of the commission
- is complete without the outlay of
one penny of his own funds, and
he is, actively engaged in his new
trade owns a comfortable little
business of his own and is on a
. higher plane of prosperity than he
was before his foot was severed. -;
Just now the commission has 35
injured workmen in school, a fact
made possible by special laws en
acted at the January session of the
state legislature. The schools in
jured workmen patronize at the
expense of the commission are of
their own selection and at present
include specialty schools, the state
colleges, the state university; and
the like. Men are being trained for
almost every line of work.
"Only two great ideas govern the
work of 'the commission, according
to' Commissioner Kirk. They are,
first, to make better men physic
ally, thus reducing the amount of
the . Insurance demanded of the
commission, and through it from
the taxpayers, and, second, to train
the man personally, mentally and
otherwise, that he may occupy a
position in the state's affairs equal
to or better than he did before his
The physical rehabilitation is not
alone directed in the general hos
pitals to which Injured workmen
are taken. The commission has es
tablished at Portland and Salem
complete physiotherapy hospitals
. for the after care of injured men.
These hospitals are under the su
pervision of Dr. ff. B. Dillehunt,
dean of the University of Oregon
school of medicine and widely
known for his work in the recon
struction hospitals of the war era.
The Portland hospital has been
established since April and has
treated 176 Injured men men suf
fering from almost every possible
form of injury. A total of 3666
treatments have been made in
these 176 cases. An average of 25
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men daily are treated at the Port
land hospital, which is equipped
with every available device for the
reclamation of injured muscles and
broken bones. Each treatment ex
tends from 30 minutes to two
hours. Ninety-five per cent of the
cases show a definite Improvement
under treatment, regardless of the
nature of the injury, and thus is
minimized the degree of permanent
disability a blessing to the man
and the state alike.
Under Dr. Dillehunt is a staff of
prominent physicians, surgeons and
nurses. The latter group Includes
young women trained as govern
ment reconstruction aides. Among
them are Miss Cora Howes, first
aide: Miss Anna Orr and Mrs. D.
B. Thomas, who, incidentally, has
direct charge of the Louis Ander
son case.
Practically all the state's hazard
ous industries come under the in
dustrial accident commission's ben
efits. The commission is self-supporting
to a .great extent. It draws
its fund from employers and work
men who elect to come under the
act, assessing the former on a pay
roll percentage basis and the latter
at the rate of 1 cent daily, regard
less of Income. Hundreds of farm
ers. Commissioner Kirk reports, are
electing to oome under the act, in
view of their installation of power
' I
To spread its rehabilitation work,
the commission is occasionally installing-
in the larger ' industrial
plants of the state small plant hos
pitals, with competent nurses in
charge and with medical attend
ance available. The commission's
plan is to blend the vocational and
physical rehabilitation work with
the former, paid for largely from a
fund of , $100,000 : set ;' aside from
the ; legislature. .This. s fund' plus ,
i " 1 I
1 '
2 per cent of the commission's
monthly income, is devoted to vo
cational work. There is a present
totaPof $140,000 in the fund and
the state will be asked to place a
limit upon the total, because it has
been shown that the present appro
priation is quite sufficient.
There Is a wide and interesting
field for psychological study in
connection with the work of the
commission. There is much that
is appealing in the work the com
mission is called upon to do.
Nothing, though, is more inter
esting than the effort of Injured
workmen to fit themselves for new
works , under the direction and at
the expense of the commission,
which means, eventually, at the
expense of the employers and the
workmen themselves.
&V070S jfegoyAfoaz.
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Schools selected by recipients of
the commission's funds and ap
proved by the commission, must
pass an exacting test. When such
schools hold forth special advan
tages to pupils supported by the
commission that boay makes very
certain that the advantages are
actually available. When an en
gineering school offers a diploma
and degree after three years of
work in a course that in most insti
tutions requires from Vour to six
years, there is something wrong
and that something is sought by
the commission. .When a school
attempts to charge $500 for work
a school of equal standing offers
for $150 that $500 school is re
quired to show wherein its work
is worth $350 more.
Doctors and nurses who have the
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care of injured workmen are sub
ject to similar investigations and
they must prove capable before
they receive state funds for their
Not all men elect to train them
selves for new callings. The
younger men are anxious to study,
to pave the way for future prog
ress, but the older men who suffer
injuries are content to accept work
for which they are already fitted.
Older men injured in Oregon in
dustries usually choose to work as
watchmen or at like occupations
where their Injuries are not handi
caps. Many of such men find that
there are certain farm 'occupations
they can undertake. 5
In the latter connection, the .
commission .reports, it is training
a number of men as poultry hus
bandmen. Men who have been un
able, 'while seeking a livelihood, to
satisfy a desire to get back to the
r land to own a little plot of their
. own are taking advantage of the
commission's help to equip them
selves and a&eady a few have been
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taught the details of chicken rais
ing. That occupation, odd as it may
seem, is especially suitable for men
blinded at their work. It has been
proved not only In theory, but in
actual practice, that a blinded man
ris capable of competing with more
fortunate fellows, in the chicken
business. They prove as adept at
ascertaining the quality of a fowl
or its product as men with the full
faculty of sight.
The jobs for men with injured
or paralyzed legs are limitless. An
derson will be an architect, others
may become watchmakers, book
keepers, teachers and the like.
All Injured workmen do not seek
vocational aid. In fact, few of them
do. One man, recently called into
consultation with the commission,
which desired to outline a' course
of study for him, declined politely
to receive the "benefits to which Ire
was entitled. He was a -railroad,
superintendent when he was inca-
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pacitated. When his physical re
habilitation was complete his bones
knitted and his muscles again
strong, he found that he could re
sume a Jlke work and he found
emplpyment at $5000 a year. The
startled commission could not. in
sist upon aiding him.
That mass of wonderful knowl
edge acquired by American , doc
tors in the war period, when a hu
mane policy of rehabilitation be
came almost as important as war
fare itself. Is available to the pro
fessional staff of the accident com
mission and, with the help of some
of those same doctors, the com
mission's program of physical and
vocational reconstruction Is said
to be of wider scope, perhaps, than
any other present similar civilian
activity. ,
The members of the commis
sion, aside from Will T. Kirk,
whose branch of official activity is
here explained, are W. A. Marshall,
chairman, and J. W. Ferguson. :
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