We all know the history of some of the more famous inventions such as electricity, the light bulb, the telephone, and the automobile. This is typical fifth grade history subject matter after all. There is no doubt about the profound impact these famous inventions had on the world and the way it lived. Still, there are a multitude of famous inventions that are less often presented in history class that have had a profound impact on life itself – not just the way it is lived, but the fact that it can be lived at all. Here’s a look at some of the life-saving famous inventions in medical history.
The Artificial Heart
William J. Kolff, a medical researcher, invented the first artificial heart. Robert Koffler Jarvik invented the first permanently implanted artificial heart, the Jarvik 7. The first recipient was Dr. Barney Clark, a Seattle dentist, who received the implant in 1982 and lived 112 days. Twenty plus years later, medical advances are being made towards artificial hearts that may some day offer an alternative to heart transplants.
Kidney Dialysis Machine
The same William J. Kolff invented the artificial kidney dialysis machine. Though continuous improvements have been made over the years, his invention has impacted medicine in such a way that today it is estimated that over 50,000 patients in the United States with end-stage renal disease are being kept alive through dialysis treatment.
The Blood Bank
Charles Drew essentially invented what we know today as blood banks. Though more of a discovery, than an invention, through his research, he discovered that liquid red blood cells could be separated from plasma and stored separately, preserving blood to be reconstituted later. He founded the American Red Cross Blood Bank and this life-giving breakthrough has saved countless lives to date.
Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen accidentally discovered x-ray imaging in 1895 with a cathode ray generator. His discovery led to the invention of the computed tomography scan, also known as CAT scan, which was first patented in 1975 by Robert S. Ledley. The invention and advancement of diagnostic imaging has given doctors a tremendous advantage in treating multitudes of diseases and injuries.
These are only a few famous inventions with considerable impact on medical advancements throughout history. There are many other inventions and discoveries alike that have and will continue to impact the world of medicine. The Inventors Hall of Fame gives biographical information of these and other scientists and researchers and their famous inventions.