Surpassed, but not eclipsed, by the still more important art of auscultation introduced by R.
In the case of Laennec himself this qualification takes nothing from his fame, for he studied so minutely the relations of post-mortem appearances to symptoms during life that, had he not discovered auscultation, his researches in morbid anatomy would have made him famous.
The method of auscultation was soon introduced into England by pupils of Laennec. John Forbes (1787-1861) in 1824, and William Stokes (1804-1878) of Dublin in 1825, published treatises on the use of the stethoscope.
Laennec, to whom we are indebted for the practice of auscultation, freely admits that the idea was suggested to him by study of Hippocrates, who, treating of the presence of morbid fluids in the thorax, gives very particular directions, by 1 " Hippocrates Cous, primus quidem ex omnibus memoria dignus, ab studio sapientiae disciplinam hanc separavit, vir et arte et facundia insignis " (Celsus, De medicina).
The discovery had, however, yet to be completed by that of auscultation, or listening to sounds produced in the chest by breathing, the movements of the heart, &c. The combination of these methods constitutes what is now known as physical diagnosis.
Joseph Skoda (1805-1881) extended, and in some respects corrected, the art of auscultation as left by Laennec. Karl Rokitansky (1804-1878), by his colossal labours, placed the science of morbid anatomy on a permanent basis, and enriched it by numerous discoveries of detail.
This increase of knowledge is therefore due, not to auscultation alone, but to auscultation combined with morbid anatomy.