Bioethics News

Why Doctors Still Need Stethoscopes

May 10, 2016

(The Atlantic) – Indeed, for many doctors (myself included), the stethoscope exam has become more ceremony than utility. A colleague, considered one of the best clinicians in the hospital, recently asked me if he could borrow my stethoscope for his clinic. He’d left his in the car. I confessed that I was using an isolation stethoscope, which is a flimsy, disposable, toy-like stethoscope that the hospital stocks for patients who are on isolation for infectious reasons. A doctor could put one end of a paper towel roll against a patient’s chest and the other end against his or her ear and get roughly the same level of auscultation as these isolation stethoscopes provide.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.