At a time when researchers are mulling over replacing stethoscope with smart devices, Google has created a doodle to mark what would have been the 235th birthday of Rene Laennec, the inventor of the stethoscope.
Prior to the invention of the stethoscope by the French physician, placing the ear or hand to the chest of the patients for examining heart complications was the norm.
But late in 1816, while examining an overweight woman suffering complications of the heart, Laennec realised that a simple device can aid physicians in avoiding the embarrassment of placing an ear to the chest of a woman and also help them better detect the symptoms of the diseased heart.
“While examining a patient suffering complications of the heart, Rene Laennec’s memory of a stroll taken months prior came rushing back,” Google wrote in a statement.
He observed two children playing with a long stick — one scraped it with a pin while the other listened giddily to the amplified sound on the other end. Recalling this, Laennec rolled up a piece of paper and pressed it to his patient’s chest.
The beating of her heart was suddenly audible and clear, and the stethoscope — an innovation that would fundamentally change the detection and diagnosis of lung and heart problems — was born, the statement said.
After several prototypes, he settled on an instrument that resembled a long, wooden tube. Using his invention, Laennec continued his research on sound in diagnostic medicine and made several important contributions to the field.
The google doodle depicts Laennec’s very first stethoscope besides the one that we know today.