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Best Medical Inventions of the 1940s

Updated on April 27, 2017

Great Medical Breakthroughs

Penicillin came about for medical use in 1945 and is the most used Antibiotic in the United States. It's had a positive effect at helping out illnesses throughout the world.
Penicillin came about for medical use in 1945 and is the most used Antibiotic in the United States. It's had a positive effect at helping out illnesses throughout the world. | Source
Th Kidney Dialysis Machine was invented in the 40's and has saved many lives. It's had many improvements added to it over the last 10 years.
Th Kidney Dialysis Machine was invented in the 40's and has saved many lives. It's had many improvements added to it over the last 10 years. | Source
The invention of Cortizone led to many anti itching creams. A very commonly used item in most households.
The invention of Cortizone led to many anti itching creams. A very commonly used item in most households. | Source
Anesthesia helps put patients asleep during surgery.
Anesthesia helps put patients asleep during surgery. | Source

Which is The Tops?

Which is the best medical invention of the 1940s?

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Penicillin Discovery

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Top 10 Medical Inventions of Yesteryear

1. Penicillin (1945): This group of antibiotics arrived from fungi. This is the antibiotic drug of choice for a lot of different infections. With me working in the medical field, there are a lot of patients who are allergic to penicillin. This drug has also been helpful to millions of people since it's discovery. It is just as relevant today as it was several years ago. There are a lot of people that are allergic to penicillin. It is abbreviated as PCN. For my job, I work in a medical office. I can't tell you the amount of patients who tell me each day that they are allergic to penicillin. One thing that Penicillin is used in treatment of is strep throat. This is the dreaded shot that kids and even some adults really dread.

2. Antibiotic for Tuberculosis (1943): The drug is streptomycin. This drug was the first antibiotic remedy for tuberculosis. It can't be given orally, it has to be given (IM) or intramuscularly. Tuberculosis is a disease that affects the lungs. This can be a fatal disease. It is also very contagious. Having used to work for a pulmonologist, the faster we could get a patient started on antibiotics, the better. If we found out a patient had active tuberculosis, we would immediately get the patient back to an exam room. The patient was given a mask to wear. The doctor that I worked for may have seemed like a fanatic at times but, at the same time, there any instances of the staff at the office catching TB from a patient.

3. Invention of Kidney Dialysis Machine (1944): Patient's are hooked up to this machine and the body's waste is filtered out. This has to be done for people whose kidneys are no longer working. Now, with technology the way that it is, people whose kidneys are not functioning can lead fairly normal lives. There are certain patients that must have this done two or more days a week. This machine is used for short term purposes and for people who have lost the use of their kidneys. Kidney loss can be because of illegal drug use, prescription medication drug use, hepatitis and diabetes or elevated blood pressure.

4. First Cardiac Catheterization (1941): This procedure is when a catheter is inserted into a vessel of the heart. This is done to diagnose problems, and is mainly done through chambers and arteries of the heart. A guidewire is used to maneuver the catheter to the chambers of the heart. The results are read by the cardiologist and his recommendation/plan, may be made by he or his nurse. They may have you return to the office vs. telling you his plan over the phone.

5. Plastic Surgery (1942): Plastic surgery in America was first used by the soldiers who were returning from WWI. The injuries that they sustained during the war, caused them to need reconstructive surgeries. Also, plastic surgery is used to graft skin from one body part to another for burn victims. Then, plastic surgery is also used by people who are not happy with the way that they look. It may be one or more body parts but, I would believe that once you start having plastic surgery that it would be addicting and that you might not be able to stop. Any time that you have surgery of this nature, you run a risk of serious infection. Popular areas of plastic surgery are face, thighs, stomach, eye brows, lips, cheek bones and liposuction with surgeries.

6. Anesthesia (1942): This is the field of medicine that puts patients to sleep so, that they can have different medical procedures performed without feeling any pain. I like an Anesthesiologist with a sense of humor. This will just relax you even more and you will drift away. Patient's with sleep apnea have to be especially careful with anesthesia. The patient can be harder to wake up from anesthesia and the doctor will note that on the chart.

7. Discovery of RH Factor (1940): It was name after the rhesus monkey from where it was discovered. RH factor are substances on red blood cell surfaces that have a strong antigenic response. The RH factor is commonly found in human blood. Most reactions to RH factor come from pregnant women or during a blood transfusion.

8. Cholesterol Discovery (1943): Since this discovery of cholesterol, patients in this day and age the LDL and HDL numbers are followed more these days by patients. Patients are more educated about these numbers and what they mean. Family history plays a large roll into your cholesterol reading

9. Cortisone (1949): This drug is a hormone that treats many medical problems. It is usually administered orally or intravenously. It is also used with athletes as an injection that goes directly into the joint. This is done as a quick fix to keep them going during a game. It's commonly used in athletes to relieve pain in the hands and feet. Another just simple use that maybe we wouldn't commonly think of, would be cortisone cream.

10. Pathology (1940): This is a branch of medicine that is used to diagnose diseases and cancers. In the pathology departments in labs across the states, slides are looked at under microscopes everyday to determine new ways to diagnose and hopefully one day to help conquer disease. The Pathology department at the hospital is a very important place for the patients.

The Discovery of Penicillin

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    • anatomynotes profile image

      Edmund Custers 4 years ago

      Pre-Rh factor discovery, I imagine people would have been very worried when a rhesus negative mother who already has Rh positive child and many of her next fetuses suddenly die in her womb.

      So I think Rh factor discovery is close to the top of the top 10.

      Thanks lesliebyars!

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