The study of medicine is “the science of preventing, diagnosing, alleviating, or curing disease”(freedictionary.com). Prehistoric medicine primarily consisted of using herbal healing, animal parts, and holy or medicine men. The Greek doctor, Hippocrates, is known as the “Father of Medicine.” It is after Hippocrates that the Hippocratic Oath is named. Every medical graduate must say the Hippocratic Oath. Another noteworthy in medicine is Galen, a Greek surgeon, who conducted surgeries of the eyes and brain which were not attempted for two following millenia. (Wikipedia) “After 750, the Muslim Arab world had Hippocrates’ and Galen’s teachings translated into arabic” (Wikipedia).
“Physical medicine and rehabilitation (PM&R), or physiatry is a branch of medicine which aims to enhance and restore functional ability and quality of life to those with physical impairments or disabilities” (Wikipedia). One of the first pioneers of PM&R was Frank H. Krusen, MD. In 1936, he developed a Department of Physical Medicine which was established at the Mayo Clinic. In 1938, the term “physiatrist” was suggested to encompass physicians specializing in physical medicine. A major catalyst in the need for physical medicine was the United States entry into World War II. The amount of injured soldiers returning home in need of treatment was a prime focus. In 1947, Dr. Kusen, Walter Zeiter, and John Coulter succeeded in creating the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. (American Academy of PM&R, 1)
“The common conditions that are treated by physiatry are sport injury, amputation, spinal cord injury, and musculoskeletal pain syndromes” (Wikipedia). The primary purpose of rehabilitation is restoring the person to the highest function within the limits of physical ability. “ The emphasis is not on the full restoration to the premorbid level of function, but rather the optimization of the quality of life for those who may not be able to achieve full restoration” (Wikipedia). Thus, in many cases, the patient is left with a mechanical disadvantage of some kind after the injury has healed.
Future Trends Economically
There has been significant growth in the number of physiatrists over the past twenty years. “In 2007, there were approximately 8,800 physiatrists” (Association of American Medical Colleges). The need for physiatrists is going to continue to increase as the population ages and baby boomers become senior citizens. According to the MGMA data, a community needs at least one physiatrist for every 60,000 people. For example, for Santa Cruz county 4.5 physicians are needed, but only two practice in the hospital in the outpatient setting. (Medical development specialists consult for Dominican Hospital)
At the present time a physiatrist practicing in the Western United States can expect to make between $288,000-$300,000. The future of physiatrist salaries may be impacted negatively with Medicare cuts and potentially...