What Tools Does a Doctor Use?
by Dr.Sal MD on
While the stethoscope is the most recognized tool associated with doctors, we actually use many other specialized devices that expand our abilities beyond just supersonic hearing.
To the right is an example of the tools commonly used by the "average doctor". We typically purchase most of these items from medical supply stores while at medical school and many will last for decades e.g. my stethoscope is over a decade old and I still use it everyday. The tools we use by number: 1 = a tourniquet for taking blood (though some Bohemian physicians will tie a surgical glove around your arm as a makeshift one instead), 2 = a stethoscope for listening to body sounds like your growling stomach having waited an hour to see us, 3 = a calculator for adjusting drug doses and calculating medical formulas (after a night on call simple arithmetic like 5+5 can throw you for a loop), 4 = a tape measure for assessing things like belly obesity and baby growth, 5 = a smart phone or tablet for taking calls and checking facts, 6 = an otoscope to look inside ears for infection and lost q-tip ends, 7 = an ophthalmoscope to examine red eyes, 8 = a light to scrutinize moles and other problem spots, 9 = a patella hammer for checking reflexes, 10 = a name tag (optional) and favorite pen ('cause we write a lot!).
It's important to remember that all doctors are not created equal. Different specialists carry very different tools to work in their medical bags than family doctors. Some doctors don't even use or need stethoscopes, for example a psychiatrist doesn't need to listen to your head so often may dispense with carrying one. Other medical tools not featured here are too big to be portable so we leave these at work, like ultrasound machines. Of course, the one tool every doctor must turn up at work with is their brain and a coffee mug :)