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The Invention Of The Stethoscope Essay

1245 words - 5 pages

“The Invention Of The Stethoscope”



SPC 2600 / SECTION 11
Monday, February 16 2009
Dr. Kenneth Walker
Senior Professor
Formal Paper


This essay is written about the invention of the stethoscope by Dr. René-Théophile-Hyacinthe Laennec in the early nineteenth century. It outlines the circumstances surrounding the invention and gives the preceding state and succeeding outcomes of medicine related to this achievement. The focus is the chronological order of events in Dr. Laennec’s life which led to his accomplishment and the underlying part that his upbringing and faith played into his discovery. Additionally, the conclusion of this essay ...view middle of the document...

Other scientists improved Dr. Laennec’s invention and contributed to the development of the modern stethoscope which became a common instrument for diagnosis in various health related professions. Rene Laennec’s invention of the stethoscope positively transformed medicine and specifically assisted in improving the results of diagnostic health care.

René Laennec was born in the region of Bretagne, France on February 17, 1781. According to a biography entitled “René-Théophile-Hyacinthe-Laennec” in 1910 by The Catholic Encyclopedia, RTH was the son of a successful lawyer who instilled big dreams in the young prodigy’s mind. His mother past away due to illness when he was only six years old and the young man developed a strong desire for service at an early age. His father was very busy with his profession and had very little time to guide the youngster during that time. Six years later his father sent him away from his native city of Quimper on the northeastern side of France to about 516 miles southeast to the city of Nantes to live with some relatives. His uncle was teaching medicine at the local university and influenced the young Laennec to start a career in the field of medicine. It was there that the youngster learned hard work and became very prolific in his studies. When he was seventeen years old, RTH moved to Paris to enhance his chances for success and advance into the field of medicine. Within a year, he obtained his first prizes in both medicine and surgery at the medical school at the University of Paris. Once there, he became a pupil of Covisart which was Napoleon’s great physician. Covisart had just reintroduced into medicine an old method of diagnosis which involved a percussion of the chest which identified abnormal sounds or signs of congestion. Dr. Laennec later followed up on this technique and conducted research and observation with the old method. He ultimately created the foundation to the modern day knowledge of the diseases of the chest.

As described in an article entitled “Overview: Medicine 1800-1899” and published by the Science and Its Times in 2005, medicine became scientific in the nineteenth century. Certain methods of diagnosis became increasingly popular which helped form new theories on the diseases that faced early European societies. An article entitled “The Hippocratic Oath” and published by the University of Houston indicated that it was during those times that medical students learned human anatomy using cadavers when educational methods were still somewhat primitive. Science started to provide explanations for diseases that had previously remained undiagnosed. Furthermore, societies began to shift from attributing most causes of sickness to religious and spiritual reasons and more towards more scientific and biological...

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