An instrument with a Y-shaped flexible tube that connects at one end to a bell-shaped device fitted with a piece of hardened plastic that amplifies sound and, at the other, to 2 ear pieces for listening (auscultating) to various sounds produced by the heart, lungs, gastrointestinal tract, etc
Question: How clean is your doctor’s stethoscope?
Answer: Not very
Cultures were taken from 200 stethoscopes from 4 different hospital settings–80% were positive–bugs included Staphylococcus spp–S epidermidis, S haemolyticus, S aureus, Micrococcus spp, Bacillus spp, Listeria monocytogenes, Acinetobacter spp, and others; methicillin resistance was identied in 17% to 84% (!!!!!) of the Staphylococus spp Arch Intern Med 1996; 156:82. Stethoscopes should be cleaned to reduce the risk of nosocomial infection
VOX POPULI That really cool thingie that TV docs carry around to impress people.
Note: The stethoscope is an integral accoutrement of medicine; hospital chic requires that it be worn around the neck or prominently protruding from a lab coat pocket or sports jacket.