hammersDid you ever wonder where the stethoscope got its start? Or the ancestry of the blood-pressure cuff? We have a tendency to take diagnostic instruments for granted–but like every other medical tech invention, they developed and changed over time. Join us for a look backward, a chance to reflect not only on the practical progress of instruments, but on the awe-struck and childlike wonder with which the earliest practitioners listened in on the beating heart or the whisper-thrush of circulating blood!

The M. Donald Blaufox Hall of Diagnostic Instruments

On November 14, 2013  the M. Donald Blaufox Hall of Diagnostic Instruments opened in the balcony gallery of the Dittrick Museum. Over a span of more than thirty years, Don Blaufox, and his wife Paulette, assembled an unmatched collection of historic diagnostic instruments.  This began out of Don’s professional interest in the medical past.  But it soon became a passionate and indefatigable search for elusive and rare examples of diagnostic instrumentation, with a special emphasis upon stethoscopes and instruments to measure the pulse and blood pressure.  At the time of its donation to the Dittrick Museum in 2008, the Blaufox Collection ranked as the most extensive and comprehensive of its kind in private hands.

The Collector: M. Donald Blaufox

Dr. Blaufox is Professor and University Chairman Emeritus of the Department of Nuclear Medicine at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He is a former Chairman of the American Board of Nuclear Medicine and is the author of two hundred and ninety-two peer reviewed articles and book chapters on Nuclear Medicine, Hypertension and Medical History.  In addition, he is the Editor of the Seminars in Nuclear Medicine, the Yearbook of Nuclear Medicine and serves on the Editorial Board of six journals in related fields and he has authored or edited 25 books. He also has ninety-six chapters in books, and reviews in textbooks and journals. His latest books are Blood Pressure Measurement: An Illustrated History, and An Ear to the Chest: The Evolution of the Stethoscope. His interest in medical history grew out of a major collection of antique medical instruments, books and related items.  You may learn more about the Blaufox Collection by visiting the website of the Museum of Historical Medical Artifacts: http://www.mohma.org/