1970-2000 The largest separate unit

Rheumatological diseases – an extensive problem

A report on the occurrence of rheumatological diseases in Finland was started in Finland in the 1930s under the leadership of Professor Östen Holst. The report stated that the issue at hand was an extensive problem. In those days gold treatment had yielded promising results in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis for the first time. The Finnish Medical Association took a stand on the rheumatology issue in 1935 and put forward a proposal that large hospitals would open rheumatology wards at a later stage. At the transitional period it was considered necessary to propose a foundation of an independent nationwide rheumatology hospital. The Rheumatism Foundation Hospital in Heinola began its operations after the wartime.

The Pikonlinna hospital opened its rheumatology ward and outpatient clinic in 1977. Administratively the rheumatology ward and the outpatient clinic belonged to the Internal Medicine Clinic. The medical responsibility in the field of rheumatology was taken by dr. Anni Vilppula, who had been appointed assistant chief. Dr. Yli-Kerttula was appointed as senior ward physician and ms. Lappalainen as head nurse. Senior nurse’s post was held by ms. Valkama. Along with the foundation of the rheumatology unit occupational therapy was also started and physiotherapeutic activities were considerably enhanced. Olavi Kauranen was appointed as the first assistant physician i.e. to train for certification as a specialist in rheumatology in 1979. It thus became possible to increase outpatient services. Surgery for arthritis was started in the Pikonlinna’s operating room.  Dr.Hannu Pätiälä was their first orthopedic surgeon.