World’s Super Scientists – Laennec, Rene Theophile Hyacinthe

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The Discover of the renowned Doctor’s Garland – Scientist Laennec, Rene Theophile Hyacinthe

Scientist Rene Theophile Hyacinthe Laennec (1781 to 1826), French physician was born in 1781 in Brittany. He received his medical education in Paris, served in hospitals therein.

Scientist Rene Laennec devised an ingenious method to listen to the heart sounds in a young woman, since the direct method of putting his ear on to the chest wall, would be embarrassing and jeopardizing her modesty.

Scientist Rene Laennec took a sheet of thick paper, rolled it into a cylinder, applied one end over the pericardium (region over the heart) and the other to his ear. Enamoured by the clarity with which the sounds were heard, he began devising wooden cylinders which he named as stethoscopes.

Thus the present day ornamental garland of the doctor hung around his neck, had its modest beginnings at the beginning of the 19th century.

Scientist Rene Laennec listened to the sounds of air entering and leaving the lungs, which are named as ‘breath sounds’. He described egophony, a sound resembling the bleating of a goat.

Scientist Rene Laennec familiarized himself with the normal sounds of the heart; abnormal sounds secondary to diseases of heart valves were described by Laennec, and later verified by post-mortem examination.

In 1819 Scientist Rene Laennec published his book on auscultation, i.e., listening to the sounds made by the heart and lungs, by the contracting muscles, by the rush of blood in aneurysms, intestinal sounds, crepitus over a fractured site in a bone, by the foetus in utero, or to any sounds produced in the skeleton or in any internal part in the body In antenatal care and during delivery, foetal heart sounds are heard through foetoscope, a type of stethoscope.General Studies Question Bank CD

The ‘two ear’ binaural stethoscope was invented in 1852 by George Cammann, an American.

Scientist Laennec was an illustrious, instructive and popular speaker in all branches of medicine.

A type of cirrhosis of liver (hardening of the substance of the liver) bears his name — Laennec’s cirrhosis.

Scientist Rene Laennec used to treat the poor free; he was very considerate to the economically handicapped class. He used to work to the point of exhaustion. Under the stress of fatigue, he developed tuberculosis; thus the discoverer of the stethoscope was a consumptive himself.

Tuberculosis affects men of talents and those having a taste for fine arts, poets, artists, etc. He died at an early age of 45.

Those whom gods love die young. Good men must die; but death cannot kill/erase their names.

In the portrait of Laennec, we see a Parisian (native of Paris) devoid of the paraphernalia of a physician in those days, viz., wig, special apron or any mode of dress reminiscent of the pre-Victorian era.

The clinical examination in every patient in medicine or surgery consists of inspection, palpation, percussion and auscultation.

An observation on Scientist Rene Laennec

Scientist Rene Laennec name includes hyacinth, a plant with sweet-smelling bell-shaped flowers, indicating the sweet temperament of the person. More so, tubercle bacilli were attracted by this sweetness in him.
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Tailpiece

[stethos Greek chest] scope = instrument