The technology used in the pursuit of healing the human body is astounding. After thousands of years of history, only the past century or two have made exponential discoveries regarding the science of the body and how to repair damage. All of the medical equipment we take for granted today has been invented just over the past 100 years or so.
Take the X-ray machine. Wilhelm Roentgen discovered and analyzed the first x-rays in 1895 by simple experimentation. While performing another experiment, he noticed certain lights that were appearing elsewhere. Further experimentation revealed that some kind of ray was passing through where light could not. It is said he named them X-rays simply because they were unknown. Later, he took the first x-ray of his wife’s hand who, looking at the bones revealed for the first time, cried out, “I have seen my death!”
X-ray machines were one of the first health resources known as diagnostic equipment. The ability to see bone structure clearly was very helpful in determining issues within patients. The idea of passing rays through patients to return information created many more diagnostic machines throughout the future—MRI machines and CT scanners are examples of these.
In addition, in the past, one of the problems faced by doctors was simply having enough time to diagnose issues before the patient expired. Sometimes, illnesses threatened to obstruct life-critical systems like the lungs or kidneys, and once affected, nothing could be done. Using various forms of life support equipment, doctors are able to substitute machinery for the affected organs, bypassing the need for their direct support and keeping the body alive until doctors can solve the underlying problem. In many cases, regular organ behavior continues once the problem is solved. Ventilators, heart-lung machines, and dialysis machines are some of these kinds of life support machinery.
Some of the most helpful, but underrated, equipment in the medical industry are the simple monitors. Monitors keep track of vital statistics of a patient automatically without constant intervention from medical staff. Alarms can also be sounded if levels reach undesirable levels. With the sheer amount of patients each doctor attends to, the monitors are critical to keeping an eye on patients while doctors turn their attention elsewhere.
All of this equipment only appeared in the past hundred years. Before that, everything was done manually, without all the assistance of technology. It is no wonder the life expectancy has grown so much.