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O'Dwyer-type intubation set, France, 1882-1900

Science Museum, London

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Credit: O'Dwyer-type intubation set, France, 1882-1900. Credit: Science Museum, London. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

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Diphtheria causes a membrane to grow over tissues in the mouth and, in severe cases, into the lungs. Without intervention, breathing becomes difficult and eventually the patient will suffocate. In 1882, Joseph O’Dwyer (1841-98), an American physician, became the first person to successfully intubate children with diphtheria. O’Dwyer decided to place a tube down the larynx to help the patient breathe and keep the airway open. The tubes became known as O’Dwyer tubes and are made to fit different sizes of larynx. The kit also contains a pair of forceps and a hook to place and remove the tubes, which took skill on the part of the physician. The mouth gag used to keep the mouth open while the tubes were put in place is missing from this apparatus. maker: Collin Place made: Paris, Ville de Paris, Île-de-France, France

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