Stethoscope: A device invented to prevent sexual harassment...

Dhaka, Wednesday   28 October 2020

Stethoscope: A medical device invented to prevent sexual harassment

 Feature Desk

 Published: 04:56 PM, 12 October 2020   Updated: 05:35 PM, 24 October 2020

René Laennec and his invented device

René Laennec and his invented device

Doctors have seen such a device hanging around his neck named Stethoscope. Stethoscope is inserted into the ears to check the patient’s heart rate. The stethoscope is also seen as a symbol of the medical profession.

A stethoscope is mainly used to hear the sound of the heartbeat and breathing of any human or animal body. It is also used to hear the sound of blood flowing in the intestines, arteries and veins.

In 1851, the Irish physician Arthur Leared invented a binocular stethoscope, and in 1852 George Philip Cammann designed a stethoscope device (used in both ears) for commercial production. 

But do you know how it started?
The stethoscope was invented from the idea of the Persian physician René Laennec. It also has an interesting history. He invented this device to protect women from obscenity. René Laennec’s daily address was Necker Hospital in Paris. Laennec was quite famous in this heart of France. René was the last hope for any incurable disease like tuberculosis. And the biggest thing was that from the aristocracy to the extremely poor, all were equal to him.

The stethoscope was invented from the idea of the Persian physician René Laennec.

Was he crossing the line of decency while undergoing treatment? Listening to a female patient’s breast to examine the heart or lungs, a form of harassment. While he was walking the streets of Paris, he thought about this. He thought that it shouldn’t happen that way. But the way? He has repeatedly thought about leaving the treatment. He did not even go to the hospital for a few days. But turning away from patients is also the equivalent of inhumanity. It was the beginning of the nineteenth century.

As he walked down the street that day, he noticed two small children playing on the sidewalk, a long cardboard tube in their hand. One side of the tube is stuck to one’s ear, while the other is talking to his little friend. Laennec also had such an experience as a child. Little sound heard louder through such a tube.

The two children strongly reminded Laennec’s childhood memory. Suddenly, an idea hit in his mind. He got the solution to the problem that had been bothering him for a long time. If his idea would correct, then female patients no longer would have to be harassed. As soon as he entered the house, he started waiting to go to the hospital to check it.

Arthur Leared invented a binocular stethoscope

Finally, he got the opportunity to test, what he had wanted. An obese young woman appeared at the hospital the next day with a heart problem. Laennec told her to sit down. Then he picked up the notebook for prescribing medicine from the table. He rolled and made a funnel and set on the young woman’s breast keeping his ears on the other side of the funnel.

The young woman was surprised to see the activities of Laennec. The patient and everyone with her got tensed thinking that they had fallen into the clutches of a madman. On the other hand, a smile flourished on Laennec’s lips. By that time he could clearly hear the rhythm of the heart’s continuous beats. That time he just needed to make a funnel instead of this notebook.

In 1816, a strange device was invented at the Necker Hospital in Paris. Through which the sound of heart or lungs can be heard from a distance. The cause of the disease can be said by the device. Laennec named the device the cylinder. And thus he called the method of hearing sound medium auscultation.

Using a binocular stethoscope

However, even after this glorious discovery, he had to face many problems. The society at that time did not like the matter, other doctors also did not like it. However, within four years, his method spread to England, Germany and Italy. Gradually he gained popularity. Later Lanek himself made several changes to the cylinder.

Three and a half decades after this discovery, the modern stethoscope was made in Ireland in 1851. Laennec showed the way. This time the Irish doctor Arthur Leared made the device such way that the sound is heard by both ears. However, Laennec could not see the consequences of his discovery.

Using a binocular stethoscope

He died a decade after the invention of the cylinder at only 45 years old in 1826. When he spent the whole day testing the tuberculosis patients, he became infected with a deadly disease. Tuberculosis took the life of his daughter when she was only five years old. So he wanted to end the history of this disease. But he died before making the end of this disease. But he recorded the nature of all the signs and symptoms of tuberculosis for the rest of the doctors. Laennec also showed what kind of sound can be heard from TB disease.

Modern medical stethoscope

He also identified lateral dissection procedures and diseases such as liver cirrhosis. Even today, liver cirrhosis is called ‘ Laennec cirrhosis’. And without the stethoscope, does the character of a doctor really come to our mind? In 1852, however, George Philip Cammann designed a stethoscope for commercial production which used in both ears.