How Did Charles Krauthammer's Paralysis Affect His Research?

Charles Krauthammer's paralysis affected his research because he required modifications and rehabilitation in order to finish medical school, but he completed medical school on time with his entering class. At one point, one of Krauthammer's professors traveled to Krauthammer's bedside and gave him a lecture lying flat on his back, complete with slides on the ceiling.

Krauthammer suffered a paralyzing spinal cord injury when he dove into a pool during medical school. Ironically, at the time Krauthammer suffered this catastrophic injury, his studies included the spinal cord; emergency personnel found a medical book titled "The Anatomy of the Spinal Cord" in Krauthammer's belongings at the pool. Krauthammer criticized Christopher Reeve's public lauding of spinal-cord advancements, saying Reeve did the public a disservice by creating false hopes for newly paralyzed people and their families.

After Krauthammer's paralysis, his interests shifted to psychiatry and then to American politics. He completed a medical residency in psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital and published research on the topic of secondary mania.

When Krauthammer moved to Washington, D.C. for medical work, he entered politics as a speechwriter for Walter Mondale, and he abandoned his medical practice. When his job with Mondale ended, Krauthammer wrote for The New Republic and then Time Magazine. For his efforts, Krauthammer won the Pulitzer Prize. Krauthammer rarely mentions his paralysis. He stated that his greatest accomplishments are his research on secondary mania and his coining of the phrase "The Reagan Doctrine" to describe U.S. policy towards Nicaragua in 1985. Krauthammer passed away from cancer of the small intestine in June of 2018.