Thankfully, medical advancements have come a long way throughout history. When Doctor Ignaz Semmelweis suggested that people start washing their hands between autopsying dead bodies and delivering babies about 1850, he was scoffed at, but today medical professionals routinely wash their hands or use antiseptic hand wash. While he was not the first to discover that germs could cause diseases, Louis Pasteur popularized the notion. Here are some medical equipment advancements that you may be very glad were invented.


French obstetrician Stéphane Étienne Tarnie was the first to suggest that premature newborns could benefit from being placed in an incubator. The first ones were imported into the United States were placed in Coney Island’s Luna Park where people were charged a quarter to see premature babies who were being treated by Doctor Martin Arthur Couney with the money going to pay for the babies medical care so that parents did not have to pay. According to records, Couney treated over 8,000 babies with over an 81 percent success rate over the course of 40 years. It was not until 1939 that New York Hospital became the first location in the United States to use incubators in a hospital setting.

Balloon Angioplasty

German Doctor Andreas Roland Grüntzig first presented the idea of doing balloon angioplasty at a medical conference in 1976. The medical community almost universally scoffed at him. A year later, he returned to the same conference where he presented his first four cases. The medical community gave him a standing ovation and quickly changed their minds. Today, the procedure is the fourth most common procedure done in United States hospitals.

Medicine Tablets

It is believed that the oldest pill dates back to about 3,000 B.C. William Brockedon who was a writer and inventor is generally credited with creating the first machine that could make medicine without a human touching the pill. He was given a patent for his machine that could also shape lead and lozenges in 1843. There are now approximately 4 billion prescriptions filled annually by pharmacists working in the United States.


The first catheter may have been used as early as 3000 B.C. They were extremely painful to use until Benjamin Franklin worked with a local silversmith to invent a flexible catheter for his brother John to use. St. Paul, Minnesota, Doctor Frederic E.B. Foley introduced his latex foley catheter at a medical meeting in 1935 where he was laughed at.

Medicine has come a long way since its first beginnings. Nowadays we have IV infusion pumps, dialysis machines, needle-free diabetes kits, and much more. The great news is that it will continue to advance. The things people see as revolutionary today will become commonplace in the future.

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