Staples of Medical Equipment

sphygmomanometer-915652_960_720As we look towards the future in terms of advances in medical technology, we also have to remember that we are where we are today thanks to some of the tried and true medical tech. There are devices that have been in use for decades, and which are still part of a doctor’s regular items even today. So let’s take a moment to reflect back at some of the staples of medical technology.

The Sphygmomanometer is the device that doctors use to measure your blood pressure. It consists of a cuff, pressure gauge and rubber pump. Invented in 1881, this device now comes in digital form, but it is still based off of the original design.

The Stethoscope is another major part of a doctor’s arsenal. In fact, without one, the traditional sphygmomanometer is virtually useless! This device has been with us since 1816 and has has a variety of forms. It is still the most recognized piece of medical equipment in existence and is inseparable from the medical image.

The Otoscope is another commonly used device. It allows a doctor to easily see inside a patient’s ear and is useful for locating and identifying infections. It has been a staple of doctor’s offices since 1838 and now can consist of a simple smartphone attachment.

An Opthalmoscope is similar, except it is used for inspecting the human eye. Invented in the mid 1800’s (lots of medical technology evolved in that century) it can be seen in offices and clinics everywhere. See one here:

Thanks to these medical technological breakthroughs, doctors can more easily diagnose and treat their patients. As technology continues to evolve, doctors will be able to gain even more insight into what’s happening inside the human body, but it will be thanks to the early devices that we will eventually have that technology.

Transporting The Elderly

stretcher-98579_960_720One of the trickiest parts about working with elderly patients is the actual transportation of them. Some patients are not in a good enough condition to walk easily, and others are bedridden completely. So it can be a bit trying to get them from point A to point B. So the right equipment is needed to safely move them.

Now, a stretcher or gurney is what usually comes to mind and these will work well enough in most situations. But what about if there are stairs to overcome? You won’t be able to use the aforementioned devices as you’ll have to have it at such a steep angle that you risk the patient sliding right off without very tight restraints. You also risk injuring yourself trying to hold and maneuver it. Even though people who cannot move around with ease shouldn’t live somewhere where there is no elevator access, it still happens from time to time.

The solution is a device called a stair chair. Stair chairs look a bit like a regular chair, but have strategically placed sets of handled on the front and back. They are so placed so that two people working together can easily move someone up or down a flight of stairs. This isn’t only useful for the elderly. These are also vital in times of evacuation. And normally able-bodied person unable to move (or just unconscious) who is trapped on an upper floor could be transported with such a device.

By using a stair chair, you reduce the risk of injury to not only the patient, but also the person(s) doing the lifting.

Making Manikins Lifelike

manikin 1In our previous article, we briefly touched upon the history of medical manikins. We saw how they have been a staple of medical training for hundreds of years, and how they continue to be an important part of medical schooling even today. But now let’s look at some of what makes today’s manikins as lifelike as they are.

First of all, they look quite real. Realistic molding and features like eyes and hair ass a sense of realism to the overall experience. Everything down to skin tone is through with in terms of appearance.

There is also the aspect of touch. While some manikins are still hard plastic, others have a more lifelike texture and feel to them. Especially ones that have complete sets of internal organs. This allows for some sort of familiarity with the outside and inside of a human body. This adds to the confidence of young doctors as they have some experience with how a human being feels inside and out.

There are also specialty manikins that are only used for specific training. For example, there are childbirth manikins that only include the needed parts for that specific procedure. Because these manikins only include the necessary parts for a particular procedure, they can be made lifelike and inexpensive (relatively). There are specialty manikins for lots of things, like CPR manikins, prostate manikins, choking manikins, etc. These allow for greater training efficiency and effectiveness.

So as you can tell, the future of medical training looks bright thanks to these devices. And the future holds even more advanced training devices just waiting to be developed and put into good use.


The History of Medical Manikins

manikinThroughout history, there have always been two technologies that have developed faster than others. Those are of course the technologies of war, and of medicine. Though sometimes opposed and other times hand-in-hand, more time and energy have gone into getting these types of tech as far advanced as possible. For our interests, we’ll be looking at the medical side of this technological advancement. Specifically, the use of medical manikins in medical training.

Obviously, a subject is only as good as people can be trained in it. This is one of the reason that mysticism and the like remain esoteric and out of the general public eye. It’s impossible to teach someone how to work with it. So medical training techniques are very important. Training good doctors can’t be dependent upon some natural bent or inherent gift. It must be teachable.

So medical manikins were a way of getting people familiar with the human body and its systems. The started off as wax models of the human form, and various internals. Organs, bones, etc all were molded in clay or wax and colored so that medical students could see and (to a degree) feel these parts. After all, there wasn’t always a fresh cadaver around to work with.

Nowadays, these manikins are state-of-the-art. They are made from materials that not only mimic the human body in color, but also in texture. They vary, with some designed only for a specific use and therefore only containing certain parts of the body, like a CPR manikin or a birthing manikin, while others are full-blown replicas of the complete human anatomy and all of its systems. They yet remain an invaluable tool in the training of medical doctors and are found in all levels of medical training.

The Future Of Medical Training

technik-hintergrundExcellent medical training is always something that is constantly being sought after in the field of making doctors. After all, the more effective your methods are, the better the doctors you’ll produce. And having good doctors is something that everyone needs. So that’s why if you took a look at the history of medical training, you’d see that there have been advancements all throughout the years. But what’s even more interesting is where medical training is heading in the near future.

Back in days of old, if you wanted to see inside a human body, you either had to rely on the sketches of other doctors, or happen to have a cadaver ready. Now, obviously there are photographs, but also anatomical models that can be handled and practices on. While these models are good in that they can be physically manipulated and many even have accurate feel and textures, they usually only depict a healthy body. With virtual reality, the human body can be shown in any condition and represented in a wide variety of states and pathologies.

Virtual reality also allows a student to see a surgery being performed from the viewpoint of the doctor performing it. This would allow for a complete walkthrough of a particular procedure being viewed from the first person perspective.

Another upcoming advancement is that of rapid inclusion into curriculum. As we live in an information and communication-dominated age, when advancements occur in the medical field, they can be immediately implemented into standard curriculum. This means that even new doctors will be completely up-to-date on the latest techniques, treatments and procedures.

The future does indeed look bright for tomorrow’s medical students. And even brighter for their patients. As technology continues to improve, know that it will constantly mean better and better training for the doctors of tomorrow.