Stethoscope

Introducing the First & Foremost ‘instrument’ in every doctor’s armamentarium…a Stethoscope! 🙂

steth·o·scope

[steth-uh-skohp]  Show IPA

noun Medicine/Medical .

an instrument used in auscultation to convey sounds in the chest or other parts of the body to the ear of the examiner.
Origin: 
1810–20; stetho- + -scope

20130723_120057[1]

I am not promoting any particular brand here. This is my current tool 🙂

A bit of obligatory introduction:

  • The 2 grey pieces are knows as ‘Earpiece’ – the end that we put in our ears.
  • The rounded part – Diaphragm. And the other side of it is known as the Bell -> both parts are used to listen to patient’s body parts, to hear & differentiate the types of sounds heard (Besides the chest to listen to heart and breathe sounds, we can use it for abdomen & vessels too, yup! Get an idea if your vessel may be narrowed & remember a stet is used to check Blood Pressure too?)
  • And the ‘tubing’ transmits the sound, so that it is heard louder than it is. Try listening to someone’s heartbeat with bare ears, and with a stethoscope. You will know what I mean.

* I personally believe everyone who uses a Stethoscope should have their own. Not a big fan of sharing, or using common stets for hygiene purposes – my only exception was in ICU settings. Each bed would have a stet to reduce cross contamination.

***

Okay, now that I am done with the necessary evil, lets move on.

My grouch is that:

  • Patients SPEAK During auscultation!

I used to think that it is common sense! Apparently I was mistaken.
When someone has something IN their ears…say headphones, don’t we all know that they would be a little hard of hearing? Anyone who has had to SCREAM at their teen/peers with headphones on, would get me.
Ditto! SIMILAR PRINCIPLE! 🙂

When we wear our stethoscope and the earpieces are in our ears, our aim is to try to distinguish the sounds that we are listening to – be it your chest, or abdomen..or blood pressure measurement!
So, IF YOU Speak to us while the stethoscope is on you, there are 2 problems:
a) We can’t hear you clearly.
b) The auscultation becomes a futile attempt at that moment.

Not convinced? Try wearing a headphone and have someone you tell a story. Can’t get your hands on one? Just get 2 pieces of cotton and cover your ear canals.

One more thing…you do not have to automatically start breathing in & out the moment your doctor places his/her stets on you 🙂

I find it sooooo cute when patients’ do that!

Why not, you ask?
Because if your doctor is auscultating for your heart sounds, first he/she will try to pick up the rhythm. And if necessary, will proceed with asking you to inhale & exhale.
For lung auscultation, by all means…do your breathing exercises! 🙂

***

I’ve trained myself to Tell patients to not speak the minute I take my Stethoscope in hand 😉 When they still do, it irks me though.

Too complicated? Nahhh…Just STAY STILL & Follow the Instructions. And tell us your stories/complaints when we are all ears 😀

Simple, right?
Your co-operation will aid doctors in serving you better. Thank You Very Much.  🙂

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