The Earliest Medical Device Innovators

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The Earliest Medical Device Innovators

The Earliest Medical Device Innovators

1. René Laennec (1781-1826) 
French physician René Laennec is credited with inventing the first stethoscope in 1816. It was pretty much just an ear trumpet pressed on the chest, but it marked one of the first times that physicians sought to explore the inner workings of the body without cutting a patient open.

2-3. Charles Gabriel Pravaz (1791-1853) and Alexander Wood (1817-1884)
The first devices recognizable as hypodermic syringes were independently invented--virtually simultaneously--in 1853 by Scottish physician Alexander Wood and French surgeon Charles Gabriel Pravaz.

4. Hermann von Helmholtz (1821-1894)
Hermann von Helmholtz is considered one of the first biomedical engineers. His achievements included his mid-19th-century invention of the ophthalmoscope for viewing living retinas inside people's eyes. Though others had independently created such a device before, it was not until Helmholtz's invention that the usefulness of the device became widely recognized.

5. Wilhelm Röntgen (1845-1923)
Wilhelm Röntgen is so associated with the discovery of the x-ray and the later development of medical x-rays that, in German, his last name has come to be synonymous with x-ray. Shown above is an x-ray from 1895 of Röntgen's wife Anna Bertha Ludwig. 

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