Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Mother of Invention

I was in one of the local big box books stores today. I hadn't planned to buy anything (I'm already four books behind), when I came across a little collection books. You know the kind of book with an all inclusive title,"The Greatest Stories..." So I started thumbing through it not really taking every page in, but glancing across the subject that was covered. As I was about to put the book down I noticed a small notation about the invention of the stethoscope. I thought to myself, ‘what could be a great story about a stethoscope’. Turns out it was all a issue of respectability and modesty for its’ invention.

In 1816, a French physician by the name of Rene Lanennec was presented with a dilemma. The morals of the day would not allow him (a bachelor) from listening to hearts of his female patients by normal means. By placing his ear on their chest.

So what is a doctor to do. Well by luck, Rene was also a musician. He took a sheet of paper and rolled it into a tube, placed it on his female patient’s chest and listened to her heart beat. Enter the first stethoscope.

He soon made one of wood, in the shape of a cylinder. Hollow out and was fluted on one end and opened on the other. So due to an issue of marital status we have today a very common diagnostic devise.

Think about the next time you go to the doctor.

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