Laennec to the hydatid, immature or larval tapeworm.
Laennec, it is hardly too much to say that this simple and purely mechanical invention has had more influence on the development of modern medicine than all the "systems" evolved by the most brilliant intellects of the 18th century.
Broussais's system, to which he gave the name of "Medecine physiologique," did much indirect good, in fixing attention upon morbid changes in the organs, and thus led to the rise of the strongly opposed anatomical and pathological school of Corvisart, Laennec and Bayle.
Rene Theophile Hyacinthe Laennec (1781-1826) was the inventor of this most important perhaps of all methods of medical research.
Laennec attached undue importance to the use of the stethoscope, and laid too much weight on specific signs of specific diseases; otherwise his method in its main features has remained unchanged.
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.
Forbes also translated the works of Laennec and Auenbrugger, and an entire revolution was soon effected in the knowledge of diseases of the chest.
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.
Laennec and Claude Bernard in France, was accepted in England, as that of Matthew Baillie, Charles Bell, Bright, Graves and others of the British school, quickly made itself felt abroad.
By the genius of Rene Theophile Laennec (1781-1826), diseases of the lungs and heart were laid on a foundation so broad that his successors have been occupied in detail and refinement rather than in reconstruction.
As by the discovery of stethoscopy by Laennec a new field of medical science and art was opened up, so, more recently, inventions of other new methods of investigation in medicine have opened to us other fields of little less interest and importance.
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).
Laennec says, " Hippocrate avait tente l'auscultation immediate."