René Laennec Biography
(Inventor of Stethoscope)
Birthday: February 17, 1781 (Aquarius)
Born In: Quimper, France
René Laennec was a French physician who invented the stethoscope. Known as the father of clinical auscultation, René Laennec is considered to be one of the greatest doctors of all times. Born as the son of a lawyer, he was actually discouraged from practicing medicine as a young man. But as fate would have it, he proceeded to study under several famous physicians, including Dupuytren and Jean-Nicolas Corvisart-Desmarets before becoming a prominent physician in his own right. The introduction of auscultation—a new method to diagnose diseases was his biggest contribution to medical science. This method involves listening to and identifying various sounds made by different body organs. Before the invention of this method, Laennec’s diagnostic method involved placing his ear on the chest of his patients. This method made him quite uncomfortable especially while he was diagnosing young women and hence this led to the innovation of a new device called stethoscope which he initially termed as “chest examiner”. With his new chest examiner, he was able to study the different sounds of the heart thus categorizing them as either healthy or unhealthy. Though criticized initially, his works were way ahead of his times and had a great impact on medical science.