The Incredible Invention Of The Stethoscope

Samuel Reason - June 2nd, 2020

In 1816 the invention of the stethoscope in the Hospital Necker in Paris was hailed as a new age of medical invention that would bring forth improved diagnosis for all patients. Created by Rene Laennec he went through a long and painstaking process of matching all the sounds he would hear during his assessment of his patient’s health to the changes in their bodies. Laennec is heralded as creating a new way of understanding the human body through the medium of sound.

blogspot.com

Using his wooden tube he would solve some of the body’s most inner puzzles by understanding buzzes, hisses, and vibrations. This pathed the way for using them as scientifically meaningful signs of health conditions and in 1819 he also went on to publish a huge 900-page analog on the art of the stethoscope. This caused its adoptions across Europe and America, making the stethoscope one of the most known medical symbols of today. Nothing says the doctor as much as holding a stethoscope.

Before 1816 doctors had no way to listen to a heartbeat or respiration other than using percussion, which was done by placing their hand on the patient’s chest. And this method did not involve any amplification, which means that doctors would miss many of the quiet sounds. Pressing an ear to a patient’s chest was often used as a key traditional diagnostic method, but as you can imagine this was a big invasion of a patient’s personal space and created an awkward moment for the doctor.

Rene Theophile Laennec was inspired to make this moment less awkward. He was examining a young woman complaining of heart pains when he felt it was very improper to place his head against her ample breasts. He rolled up a piece of paper and placed it against her chest, suddenly he was amazed at how he could hear her heart and lungs. Realizing the potential of naturally amplifying sound, he created a wooden tube which was the first simple design of the stethoscope.

It was in 1851 when the design was modernized by Arthur Leared, an Irish physician, who created the version we know today where the doctor can listen using both ears. Today the best versions of the stethoscope can even digitize sound along with encoding and transcribing to be sent anywhere for evaluation.

Next Article
  • Byzantine Emperor Justinian II Was Called The Slit Nosed

    Justinian II or as many called him The Slit Nosed, was the last Byzantine Emperor of the Heraclian dynasty. This was a dynasty that took place from 685 to 695, and then again from 705 to 711. Justinian II had extremely ambitious plans and was passionate about growing the empire. His aim was to restore...

    Read More
  • Great Depression Started Dance Marathons For Food

    Events that offered the promise of food and money during the Great Depression attracted people like flies. As a result, huge dance marathons would happen where the winners would get food. The problem was everyone was starving with no solution in sight, they were all determined to win. This caused many dancers to suffer from...

    Read More
  • France’s Deadly WWI Red Zone

    The Zone Rouge, or Red Zone as it is known in English, is a quarantine area throughout Northeastern France that the government decided was inhabitable after World War I. Though the area is non-contiguous, it was deemed unfit for life. Originally, the land covered over 1,200 square kilometers. All of it was considered too damaged...

    Read More
  • Sally Ride First American Women In Space

    On June 18, 1983, NASA Astronaut Sally Ride became the first American woman to enter space. She launched with her four crewmates on the Shuttle Challenger, on mission STS-7. The ride had been selected with five other women to be part of NASA’s space program back in 1978. With the advances of the space shuttles...

    Read More
  • Reindeer In A WW2 Submarine

    One of the more unusual moments of World War II was when a British submarine transported around a reindeer it had been given by the Russians as a gift. In 1941, the crew of the HMS Trident was given a reindeer by the USSR navy. The reindeer then spent the next 6 weeks living with...

    Read More
  • Archduke Franz Ferdinand Killed Over 300,000 Animals While Hunting

    Over one hundred years ago, the heir to the Astro Hungarian throne was a crazy guy called Franz. Well Archduke Franz Ferdinand to be exact, his assassination led to the turn of events that caused the start of World War I. Pulling in the Russian Empire, Germany, France, Italy, China, and the U.S. into one...

    Read More
  • The Legend Of Snake Rock In Naka Cave

    Naka Cave is found in Phu Langka National Park in Thailand, and in Thai it means snake. There is a real reason for this, the cave looks like a giant snake. The texture of the stones appears to resemble the scaled skin of a snake. Over the years there have been hundreds of articles publishing...

    Read More