The Invention of the Stethoscope

The Invention of the Stethoscope

  • Submitted By: metropollis
  • Date Submitted: 03/04/2009 1:39 PM
  • Category: Science
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“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 provides an outlook of the medical professions affected by this invention and the improvements in medical diagnosis made possible by the stethoscope.

Medicine evolved at a rapid pace during the nineteenth century. An important milestone in this evolution was the invention of the stethoscope by Dr. René-Théophile-Hyacynthe Laennec (RTH) in 1816. The term stethoscope refers to an instrument which is used by various medical professionals to obtain vital signs and to listen to the heart and lung sounds. In order to realize the significance of Dr. Laennec’s achievements, one should understand the state of diagnostic medicine prior to the stethoscope. At a time when many medical illnesses were often untreatable and death sometimes occurred from simple infections, the invention of the stethoscope had a profound effect on modern medicine. This inventor’s life and the circumstances that led up to his discovery should also be examined for the roles they played in Dr Laennec’s creation. After suffering through some life changing events as a child, RTH developed a strong obsession for his studies and medicine became the focus of his attention. After developing the early stethoscope, there were chronological milestones that improved Laennec’s invention and evolved the uses of the stethoscope...

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