HOW DOCTORS STARTED USING STETHOSCOPES TO DIAGNOSE PROBLEMS WITH THE CHEST?

The practice of using stethoscopes started in a hospital in Paris, in the early 19th Century.

The Necker-Enfants Malades Hospital in Paris provided specialised medical care. Rene Laennec, one of the doctors there, was trained to use sound to diagnose diseases of the chest.

One day in 1816, a young woman who had a heart problem came to consult Dr. Laennec. Ordinarily, the physician would have put his ear to the woman's chest and listened to her heartbeats to detect if there was any aberration. But the woman who came to see Dr. Laennec was rather plump. Uncomfortable with the idea of putting his ear to her chest, the doctor's eyes fell on a newspaper lying there...and he got a brainwave!

He rolled the newspaper into a cylinder and applied one end of it to the region of the woman's heart and the other to his ear. And then his own heart thumped in joy and excitement! He could hear her heartbeats more clearly than if he had put his ear directly to her chest. It was a landmark moment in medical science.

Laennec fashioned a hollow, wooden cylinder and catalogued the various sounds he could hear through it when applied to a patient's chest, and what the sounds indicated about the health of the patient. He sent his findings to the Academy of Science, in Paris.

It was not long before his invention began to be used by physicians all over Europe.

Picture Credit : Google 

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