Without new advancements in technology or new inventions, society would experience a multitude of issues stemming from illnesses, inconvenience, and ignorance. New technology and ideas from inventors can improve our standard of living, and the medical field has seen its fair share of groundbreaking inventions. However, do you know how some of the inventions came to be?
As Sarah Ruhl once said, “The difference between inspired medicine and uninspired medicine is love.” There is no greater show of love than loving someone to the point of invention, and here is a list of medical inventions that were born from love.
Medical Invention 1: Surgical Gloves
The most famous medical love story award has to go to William Stewart Halstead, also known as the Father of Modern Surgery, and Caroline Halstead née Hampton, his scrub nurse. As a scrub nurse, Caroline suffered from dermatitis due to the sanitation process. To ease her pain, William invented the first surgical rubber gloves and presented them to her. His invention led to improved sterile working conditions during surgeries and his wife to have pain-free hands.
Medical Invention 2: Band Aids
Band-Aids are ubiquitously used in households and in healthcare, but did you know the inventor, Earle Dickson, was a cotton buyer for Johnson & Johnson? His wife, Josephine Knight Dickson, experienced the inconvenience of getting cuts and burns while in the kitchen, but all she could do was use a strip of fabric to wrap her injuries. Her frustration inspired Earle to create an easy and hygienic way to cover her wounds, which became Band-Aids.
Medical Invention 3: Tongue Depressor
Tongue depressors often go unnoticed during a visit to the doctor’s office, but it is one of Jerome H. Lemelson’s many, many inventions. While he may be more well-known for inventing camcorders, videotapes, cordless telephones, and more, Jerome’s very first invention was for his dad, who was a local physician. Historically, tongue depressors can be made of any material, but Jerome invented a lighted tongue depressor as a child for his dad.
It’s About the Journey not the Destination
The idea and motivation for an invention can stem from anything. Most inventions come from people wanting to improve their or someone else’s standard of living, and some are born completely by accident. Next time you use an ordinary, mundane object, take a second to wonder how it came to be. Was it an invention of love?