Monday, August 9, 2010

Inventions Week! Listen Up

Everybody loves a good invention.  Like the paper clip or the zipper.  Or one with a really great story behind it.    Let's have fun with inventions this week!  In 1816, young physician ReneTheophile Hyacinthe Laennec was attempting to assess the heart condition of a very large young woman.  And I don't mean tall.  The usual method, pressing his hands down on the area of the heart, was not cutting it.  Too much in between his hands and the lady's ticker. The other usual method, planting his ear in that area, was not an option for Dr. Laennec as he was uncomfortable getting that close to a young woman's bosom. 
But all was not lost!  Rene had some basic knowledge of acoustics and here's what he did:  rolled 24 sheets of paper into a tube and placed one end  against the patient's heart, the other end to his ear.  Viola!  He could now hear the heart better than he had with the direct ear method. You know, with other patients.  Less large.  He made  a more sophisticated tool out of wood and the rest of us can sit back and enjoy the application of a freezing cold piece of metal to our tender skin.  Thank you Rene.  Looks like it was a good thing for us that the young lady was large. 

Source:  Biography ReSource Center, as accessed through EBSCOhost

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is fascinating!