The stethoscope, this essential tool for any doctor was invented by a Frenchman, René Laennec, who out of modesty did not dare to listen to the hearts of his patients by approaching their chest.
A shy doctor
A French invention related to medicine ? You immediately think of the French scientist Louis Pasteur and his work to develop the first vaccine, that against rabies in 1885. Sixty-nine years earlier, the doctor René Laennec also advanced medicine thanks to the invention of the stethoscope. Very shy, the doctor didn’t dare put his ear to the chest of the female sex .
A rolled notebook
In October 1816 René Laennec went on foot to the bedside of a young heart patient. He crosses the courtyard of the Louvre and sees children playing on a pile of rubble. One of them scrapes the end of a beam. His accomplice, his ear glued to the other end, laughs at the noise it makes. Shortly after, René Laennec placed the end of a very tightly rolled notebook on his patient’s chest, while his ear remained focused on the other end. Sounds reach him, clear, amplified: the sounds of the heart, the murmur of the lungs. Delighted to have perceived the first heartbeat, he built the first wooden model called a “stethoscope” (from the Greek stêthos “chest” and “skopein” “to observe”).