A contribution to the early history of NoSCoS
The Scandinavian Medical Society of Paraplegia (SMSOP-later NoSCoS) was founded at the Arkipelag Hotel, Mariehamn, Åland on Friday 21st of August 1987.
The initiator was Bodil Eskesen of Copenhagen, Denmark. During meetings of the International Medical Society of Paraplegia (IMSOP, later ISCoS) she had discussed the possibility of creating a satellite Scandinavian branch of IMSOP with fellow Nordic members of that society. Before the IMSOP Silver Jubilee meeting in Oslo 1986, she sent the organizing committee a letter suggesting an inaugural meeting at that conference. Due to ill health, Bodil Eskesen could not attend the congress in Oslo. Her suggestions were discussed at a small meeting 26th of June, but no decisions were made.
March 12th 1987 Bodil Eskesen sent a new letter to representatives from the Nordic countries and again suggested that a Nordic society of paraplegia could be discussed at the neuro-urology course that was to be held in Mariehamn later that year. Her suggestion of bye-laws was also this time attached.
The letter was sent to:
Ásgeir Ellertsson, Iceland
Mikko Kannisto, Finland
Nils Hjeltnes, Norway
Lars Sullivan, Sweden
Lars Sullivan arranged a meeting at the venue of the neuro-urology course and I quote from the minutes of this inaugural meeting:
The President of the International Medical Society of Paraplegia, professor Alain Rossier, and some 40 physicians from the Nordic Countries were present. Lars Sullivan was in the chair.
Lars Sullivan, the head of the Spinal Unit at Sahlgrenska Hospital in Gothenburg, had prepared the meeting and chaired it very efficiently. He is to be recognized as the real founder of SMSOP/NoSCoS. He circulated a new proposal for bye-laws with a distinctly formulated purpose of the new society (again quoted from the minutes):
Doctor Lars Sullivan suggested that the overall aim of the Society should be to promote research and care in paraplegia by bringing together a wide range of competent researchers actively interested in problems related to paraplegia
A small piece of paper was circulated among the present doctors. The 19 who signed in are to be considered the first members of our society and the real “founding fathers”:
From Sweden: Olof Jonsson, Anders Mattiasson, Anders Nordwall, Lars Norlen and Lars Sullivan
From Norway: August Bakke, Nils Hjeltnes, Bjørn Klevmark, Bernt Kvarstein, Svend Rand-Henriksen, Ragnar Stien and Sigmund Vaage
From Denmark: Fin Biering-Sørensen, Vagn Grynderup and Inger Lauge
From Finland: Jakko Elo, Martti Jotaranta, Mikko Kannisto and Mirja Ruutu
Not all of the founding fathers have played any significant role in NoSCoS while others have been important front figures in the years to come. An executive committee was elected ”to deal with all matters arising untill the next ordinary meeting of the Scandinavian society.”
The elected Executive Committee was:
Lars Sullivan (chairman)
Ragnar Stien (secretary)
An Advisory Council was also elected:
Fin Biering-Sørensen, Denmark
Ásgeir Ellertsson, Iceland
Veli Matti Huittinen, Finland
Ragnar Nesbakken, Norway
Lars Norlén, Sweden
The idea was that this advisory council should consist of one representative from each Nordic country, and that the main medical specialities occupied with spinal cord injury should be represented. When Lars Sullivan organized the next “ordinary meeting”, the first SMSOP/NoSCoS congress in Gothenburg, October 1989, the membership had increased to 175, a revised suggestion for bye-laws was ready, a small economical basis had been founded and an address list and postal system for contact with the members had been organized. The congress in Gothenburg with some 110 participants turned out to be a great success, and the future of SMSOP/NoSCoS looked very promising. A second congress of the Society was decided to be held in Copenhagen in 1991.
Ragnar Stien, Oslo