Early Stages of Ten Important Medical Inventions

science has come a long way from where it began

  1. The first oxygen store systemOxygen may be used for patients requiring supplemental oxygen via mask, this is achieved by a large storage system of liquid oxygen at the hospital which is evaporated into a concentrated oxygen supply. This arrangement is described as a vacuum insulated evaporator (VIE) or bulk tank. The first time this was ever invented and used was in 1920.
  2. The invention of the thermometer first thermometers were called thermoscopes and while several inventors invented a version of the thermoscope at the same time, Italian inventor Santorio Santorio was the first inventor to put a numerical scale on the instrument. Galileo Galilei invented the rudimentary water thermometer in 1593 which, for the first time, allowed temperature variations to be measured. In 1714, Gabriel Fahrenheit invented the first mercury thermometer, the modern thermometer as we know it.
  3. First blood transfusionThe first research into blood transfusion dates back to the 17th Century when British physician William Harvey fully described the circulation and properties of blood in 1628. The first blood transfusions were also attempted around this time, however, they were often unsuccessful and proved fatal in humans. In 1818, British obstetrician James Blundell was able to successfully transfuse human blood to a patient who had haemorrhaged during childbirth.
  4. The first tweezers to clamp the umbilical cordThe umbilical cord clamp is a gynaecological instrument which comes in various appearances. Most of these clamps are made using plastic and the cord usually consists of teeth in the front which fit together when the instrument is closed i.e. clamped. Some of these cords have a variety of fittings on the side of the clamp which is open in order to ensure that the instrument can be used in a secure manner. In 1899, Edward Magennis devised these and advised practitioners to use it.
  5. The first pacemaker is a medical device that generates electrical impulses delivered by electrodes to contract the heart muscles and regulate the electrical conduction system of the heart. Jack A. Hopps developed a simplified circuit and a portable model Pacemaker-Defibrilator which was used to continuously stimulate stopped hearts to beat at a pre-set rate, or to induce spontaneous heart beating after which the heart continued to beat normally. At first, these beats were induced in dogs and rabbits through an inter-cardiac catheter electrode, rather than other approaches (e.g. needle electrodes) tried previously. This device was built in limited numbers commercially by Smith and Stone co., Ltd, Georgetown, Ontario, Canada. Further work by Zoll in 1951 (the PM-65 pacemaker) led to successful clinical use.
  6. The invention made to keep children immobile during a chest X-RayChildren tend to get restless and move about when they go to the doctor’s for a check-up, hence to keep them steady during chest X-Rays, to get a clear result, a special chair was created in 1957.
  7. The first instrument to measure blood pressure first device to estimate blood pressure externally, in a non-intrusive way, was the sphygmograph—from the Greek words for “pulse” and “write”. The precursor of today’s blood pressure cuffs was invented by the German physiologist Karl von Vierordt in 1860.
  8. Pediatric artificial respiratorfirst, this invention was tested on animals such as dogs etc. Then in 1929, a tank-type respirator designed by Drinker was used successfully in 21 of 35 newborn infants for resuscitation of asphyxia at birth, by Murphy and his colleagues in 1931. Most of the unsuccessful attempts were in premature babies.
  9. The first ambulanceFirst known hospital-based ambulance service was based out of Commercial Hospital, CincinnatiOhio, (now the Cincinnati General) by 1865. This was soon followed by other services, notably the New York service provided out of Bellevue HospitalEdward Dalton, a former surgeon in the Union Army, who created a hospital in lower New York also started an ambulance service to bring the patients to the hospital faster and in more comfort, this service started in 1869. These ambulances carried medical equipment, such as splints, a stomach pump, morphine, and brandy, reflecting contemporary medicine.
  10. The first ECG machineelectrocardiogram (ECG) is a test which measures the electrical activity of your heart to show whether or not it is working normally. In 1903, Willem Einthoven, a Dutch doctor and physiologist, invented the first practical electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG).