Sister Kenny records in the Queensland State Archives
Sister Kenny's treatments, involving hot baths and the encouragement of active movement and exercise of limbs, were not considered effective for the treatment of poliomyelitis (also known as infantile paralysis) by many contemporary medical practitioners. QSA Item ID291328 includes a copy of a pamphlet titled Concerning the Disease Poliomyelitis which was prepared by Elizabeth Kenny ‘for the consideration of the Medical Officers of the Children’s Bureau of the Federal Security Agency, in the United States of America, and Others’.
In 1934, Sister Kenny opened clinics to treat long-term poliomyelitis cases in Townsville and Brisbane. In June 1934, a clinic was opened in Brisbane on the corner of George and Charlotte Streets. This establishment was named The Elizabeth Kenny Clinic and Training School (also known as the Sister Kenny Clinic). The Brisbane clinic attracted local, interstate and overseas patients. Later, Sister Elizabeth Kenny also worked in the United Kingdom and America treating poliomyelitis patients.
Various testimonials and letters of thanks to Sister Kenny are included in correspondence files in Queensland State Archives' collection. Two examples are included below:
Letter of appreciation from Nell Robertson, Townsville 24 July 1933. QSA Digital Image 2901
Nell Robertson, a patient of Elizabeth Kenny, states ‘Since you commenced treatment in April my leg has lengthened one and a quarter inches and I can now use the ball of my foot and move my toes.’
Testimonial from Dr V F O'Neill in Townsville, 24 July 1933. QSA Digital Image 2902
Dr VF O’Neill of Townsville states ‘I have only the heartiest congratulations to offer Sister Kenny upon her wonderful achievement in this case, which forms one of a successful group under her care in Townsville.’
Sister Kenny's treatment method was examined as part of a Royal Commission on the investigation of Infantile Paralysis in 1937. Correspondence (QSA Item ID291328) relating this Royal Commission and Sister Kenny's work in the United States is located in Queensland State Archives' collection.
Manager Public Access
Queensland State Archives