This month’s ACEP News has a Tricks of the Trade article on “The Multipurpose Stethoscope” (registration required) that details some clever modifications to this time-honored tool of physicians, including the following:
Occasionally, hearing-impaired patients arrive in the emergency department without their hearing aid, making history-taking a challenge for the practitioner… The stethoscope works both ways. The physician can speak into the stethoscope’s diaphragm piece, while the patient listens through the stethoscope’s earpieces. This technique provides the patient with a temporary hearing aid while in the emergency department, minimizing the risk of potential miscommunication.
We’ve also seen the bell of the stethoscope used as a reflex hammer, a Child Distractor, and occasionally, as a device for detecting heart sounds.
Flashback: Be Still, My Beating Heart