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What will become of the stethoscope?

This morning on 33 Charts, Bryan Vartabedian, MD, offers a fascinating look at the history and changing role of the stethoscope in medicine:

But more than revolutionizing how we see disease, the stethoscope had a powerful effect on defining the medical profession. It changed the way we see ourselves. For those powerless to understand what was evolving within body cavities, the stethoscope put control in the hands of the physician. And the bedside is where it happened. Doctors practiced the art of medicine with their hands, ears and hard-worn skill established in the man-to-man clinical teaching of medicine. The generations that followed spawned giants like Osler who’s capacity for bedside magic was legendary.

As a profession we had arrived. But technology changes things.

It's this morning's must-read entry. And, on the subject, I'd like to ask our readers: What role do you think the stethoscope has in modern medicine?

Previously: “Something old and something new” for Stanford medical students
Photo by Jasleen Kaur

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