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Pulmonary Rehabilitation : Sisyphus or Odysseus?

Frederic D. Seifer, MD, FCCP; Jennifer L. Hefner, BS, RD; Deborah Cestaro-Seifer, MS, RN; Jay B. Mehta, MD, FCCP
Author and Funding Information

Affiliations: Johnson City, TN 
 ,  Dr. Seifer is Clinical Associate Professor, James H. Quillen College of Medicine, and Director, Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program, Johnson City Medical Center; Ms. Hefner is a Medical Student, East Tennessee State University, James H. Quillen College of Medicine; Mrs. Seifer is Program Director, Pulmonary Rehabilitation Program, Johnson City Medical Center; and Dr. Mehta is Professor of Medicine, East Tennessee State University, James H. Quillen College of Medicine, Johnson City, TN.

Correspondence to: Frederic D. Seifer, MD, FCCP, Pulmonary Associates of East Tennessee, PC, Johnson City Medical Center, Johnson City, TN 37604



Chest. 1999;115(2):311-313. doi:10.1378/chest.115.2.311-a
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Sisyphus,1 the legendary king of Corinth, committed such crimes in his life that on his death he was sent to Hades for judgment and sentenced to the unattainable task of rolling a heavy stone up a hill. Each time he would near the apex of the hill, the stone would shift and roll back down to the plane. Sisyphus was condemned to repeat this cycle for eternity. As a practicing pulmonologist in a rural community in upper east Tennessee, establishing a pulmonary rehabilitation program was a Sisyphean task. Armed with vision, passion, and determination to succeed, 6 years were spent planning, marketing, and selling the idea of pulmonary rehabilitation to the community. The formidable hurdles of apathy, ignorance, and indifference were finally overcome. Within months of opening the doors of our newly established program, we had an extensive waiting list and were already outgrowing the existing facility. Obviously, there had been a strong need for pulmonary rehabilitation in this community. A need that was not being met by conventional therapies alone.

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