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The Atlantic asked various professionals in the healthcare industry what they think is the most underappreciated medical invention. Preview some of the answers here and read the rest of the article on The Atlantic.
Jack Ende, president, American College of Physicians
Light, relatively inexpensive, and so attractive whether draped around the neck or dangling down the chest, the stethoscope connects doctors to patients, and to their organs. What could be more valuable as we struggle with escalating costs in health care and concerns about the eroding relationship between doctors and patients?
Jennifer Doudna, co-inventor, crispr, and co-author, A Crack in Creation
Blood typing allows us to safely and routinely perform sensitive procedures such as transfusions and transplant surgery. Since its invention more than 100 years ago, it has saved countless lives and continues to underpin our understanding of human biology.
McKinley Belcher III, actor, Mercy Street
Step back in time to any Civil War hospital, and you might witness nearly as many soldiers dying from infection as from battle wounds. Antisepsis changed the game. The advent of medical practitioners cleaning wounds and instruments and maintaining a sterile surgical environment dramatically increased the likelihood that patients would survive.
Christopher Crenner, president, American Association for the History of Medicine
Is the placebo underappreciated? It is certainly overlooked. Placebos benefit almost everyone who receives medical care—quietly bolstering some therapeutic effects while subjecting others to a rigorous test.
Sheri Fink, author, Five Days at Memorial
Oxygen—known as “dephlogisticated air” when first produced in the late 18th century—is now used in applications as diverse as anesthesia, trauma care, and treating asthma attacks and pneumonia. When we lack enough of it—in war zones, during natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina, or in impoverished areas of the world—its life-and-death role becomes apparent.