In November 2022, Anna Harris and Tom Rice published “Stethoscope,” a book on the history of the iconic medical device. The book has been reviewed or mentioned in various publications.
In an article in the Sunday Post, Harris and Rice are interviewed and discuss why the stethoscope has become a symbol of medicine itself. In this interview they explain why they became interested in the stethoscope’s history, and more about the role and purpose of the stethoscope. Read the full article here.
The book has been reviewed by Brian Elliott in H-Net Reviews. Elliott notes that the authors’ account of the implications of the discovery of the stethoscope is insightful. He writes that “the influence of the stethoscope is multiplied by every physician who dons one, making it not just an icon, but one of the most impactful medical inventions in history. This ubiquity makes it even more important to understand the stethoscope’s cultural impact, a task at which Stethoscope exceeds expectations. Stethoscope offers a concise cultural history of a quintessential medical icon. Through a review of literature, art, and less renowned cultural contexts, Harris and Rice present a new take on a well-told history”. Read the full review here.
Another article in the Frankfurter Allgemeine highlights the book’s focus on the stethoscope’s cultural context. Johanna Kuroczik, the writer of the article, argues that at a time when virtual patients and telemedicine are on the rise, heart sounds and lung rattles can easily be understood digitally. However, as noted by the authors, the stethoscope is receiving less and less attention in medical studies, and auscultation is becoming a dying skill, at least in affluent countries. But in the so-called global south, where doctors have limited access to technology, the stethoscope remains essential. Even here, Kuroczik argues, we must ask ourselves what kind of doctors we have if they are unable to perform without CT, MRI, and ultrasound. The stethoscope has spread throughout the world, yet its use remains an art that not everyone has mastered. Read the full article here.
Find more information about the book Stethoscope.