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Laennec's famous Treatise on Mediate Auscultation was his only published book, but two lesser known works were left in manuscript: an early treatise on pathological anatomy and a later set of lectures on disease. The three parts of Duffin's biography correspond to these books. First, she examines Laennec's student research on the emerging science of pathological anatomy, the background for his major achievement. Second, she uses his clinical records to trace the discovery and development of "mediate auscultation" (listening through an instrument, or mediator, to sounds within the human body). The stethoscope allowed clinicians to "see" the organic alterations inside their living patients' bodies. Finally, she explores the impact of auscultation on diagnostic practice and on concepts of disease. Analyzed here for the first time in their entirety, Laennec's Collège de France lectures reveal his criticism of over-enthusiastic extrapolations of his own method at the expense of the patient's story.
Library of Congress subject headings for this publication: Laennec, R, T, H, (Rene Theophile Hyacinthe), 1781-1826, Physicians France Biography