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Medical advancements in the 20th/21st Century

Home | Advancements in the 20th Century | Detailed information | 21st Century Discoveries | Sources

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Many people believe the United States is the only country that has been successful in medical advancements. Below is a list of people on the timeline that have helped benefit the world of medicine during their time.

  • 1900’s
    • Willem Einthoven- Dutch physician, created the first electrocardiograph machine
  • 1920’s
    • Philip Drinker- Harvard student, created first modern respirator
  • 1930’s
    • Albert S. Hyman- Cardiologist practitioner, created pacemaker
    • William B. Kouwenhoven- Johns Hopkins University student, creates Kouwenhoven
    • machine to restore heart’s normal rhythm
  • 1940’s
    • Willem J. Kolff- Dutch physician who created artificial kidney
    • Kevin Touhy/ George Butterfield- help create plastic contact lens
  • 1950’s
    • John Charnley- English surgeon, performs first hip replacement
    • Charles Hufnagel- professor at Georgetown University, creates/performs first artificial heart valve implant
    • Paul M. Zoll- Boston doctor, creates cardiac pacemaker
    • John H. Gibbon- Philadelphia physician performs first successful bypass surgery




  • 1960’s
    • Wilson Greatbatch- New York electrical engineer, creates first totally internal pacemaker
    • Francis L’Esperance- Ophthalmologist, uses laser treatment on eyes
  • 1970’s
    • Otto Wichterle and Drahoslav Lim- Czech scientists, created first soft contact lens
    • Graeme Clarke- Australian, performs cochlear implant surgery
  • 1980’s
    • William DeVries- performed first artificial implant
    • Alim-Louis Benabid- French neurosurgeon, creates electrical stimulation system
    • Steven Trokel- New York ophthalmologist, performs laser surgery
  • 1990’s
    • Researchers from U.S. Department of Energy- start Genome Project, help find genes responsible for diseases
    • Wadley Regional’s Cancer Treatment Center- offer radiology to dissolve tumors
    • Wadley Regional’s Cancer Treatment Center- offers biopsy to diagnose breast cancer

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