The medical industry has evolved at an astounding rate from century to century, namely in the medical equipment that specialists have available to them. Some of the greatest medical equipment inventions have changed the course of medicine – and history – thanks to a few incredible inventors. Below are our top 5 greatest medical equipment inventions for your perusal.
1: Clinical Thermometer
Although it is unclear who the original inventor of the thermometer is, there is evidence of a temperature measurement device invented by Galileo in the late 1500s. His creation – the thermoscope – was designed on the principle that the density of liquid changes with changes in temperature.
What we do know is that Daniel Gabriel Fahrenheit invented the first mercury thermometer in 1714, and it is still in use today. Many modern healthcare facilities are shifting towards digital thermometer, preferable as they pose no risk of mercury poisoning in any eventuality.
Body temperature is indicative of myriad illnesses, and an ability to measure and track one’s internal temperature greatly assisted physicians in making more accurate diagnoses.
2: Hypodermic Needle
Prior to mid-1800s, physicians in ancient Greek and Rome used thin hollow tools to inject fluids into the body. These injections were often painful and could lead to infection from the rather large wound, comparative to modern needles.
The hypodermic needle as we know it today was invented by Charles Pravaz and Alexander Wood sometime around 1860. These needles were – and are – incredibly narrow and sharp, allowing medication to be administered accurately, with minimal pain and a much lower risk of infection or contamination.
3: Cardiac Pacemaker
It is two Australian scientists that we have to thank for this invention. Mark C. Hill and physicist Edgar H. Booth put their prototype to work in 1926, and their setup was rather rudimentary. It consisted of two poles, one connected to a salt solution-soaked skin pad and the other to a needle that was inserted into the patient’s heart chamber. The crude design defied the odds and successfully brought a stillborn baby back to life.
Today, modern pacemakers are extremely sophisticated and are powered by a battery with a 20-year lifespan.
4: Blood Glucose Monitor
Diabetic patients have an incredible need to monitor their blood sugar levels at least once a day, and minute inconsistencies can cause life-threatening circumstances. Before blood glucose testing and insulin therapy, diabetic individuals would succumb to what was called ‘sugar sickness’, diagnosed by the scent of the patient’s breath and urine.
In modern times, a portable testing meter can be carried around conveniently, and the finger of the patient pricked for a blood sample that is tested to calculate a numerical read-out. This read-out allows patients to alter their insulin doses and glucose intake throughout the day.
5: Neonatal Incubators
Dr Stephane Tarnier is generally considered to be the inventor of the incubator, having invented it to keep premature infants warm. Incubators were rare and distributed few and far between across countries due to their expense and disregarded application. However, by the 1980s it was undeniable that neonatal intensive care and incubators were saving lives; 80% of babies born under 1.5 kilograms survived in the 80s, compared to the 40% who survived in the 60s.
GlenMed Solutions is a provider of innovative, reliable medical equipment to healthcare facilities around KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. You can contact us today to discuss your medical equipment requirements.