Accidental Medical Discoveries That Revolutionized Health care

Chance discoveries
(Last Updated On: November 6, 2017)

Louis Pasteur once said, ” Chance favors a trained mind.” Interestingly, some of the greatest discoveries in medicine were products of chance that were bestowed on scientists and researchers who put heart and soul to their work.

We bring to you 3 such interesting discoveries. Happy reading!

  1. Penicillin 1

The wonder drug pencillin was a chance discovery of the Scottish doctor Alexander Fleming. He had been experimenting with the bacteria Staphylococcus aureus over some time now. One day upon entering his lab, he found that the bacteria had been destroyed by a mould growth in his petri dish. The result of this chance discovery… Fleming had created history by discovering the first antibiotic, penicillin. Ever since that chance discovery, Penicillin continues to save precious lives throughout the world.

2. Nitrous oxide:

In 1772, the English clergyman and scientist Joseph Priestly found that putting iron fillings into nitric acid released a gas, which had a numbing effect on the mind. The inhalation of the gas produced an instant tingling effect, and a sense of enhanced lightness in mood. No wonder, by 1863, nitrous oxide had already established itself as an established tranquiliser: thanks to this chance discovery by Joseph Priestly.

3. Warfarin2

Warfarin is a popular anti-coagulant used by doctors to prevent heart attacks, strokes, and blood clots. There is an interesting, but a sad story around its discovery. It was the year 1933, and autumn was at its peak. In Wisconcin, a farmer found that his otherwise healthy cattle, began to heavily bleed unexpectedly. Troubled by the miserable condition of his sturdy livestock, the man approached the American biochemist Karl Paul Link. Link examined the cattle feed, which the farmer explained had already gone rancid, and he himself doubted that the rancid feed was the source of trouble. Link proved him right as he discovered an anticoagulant in the hay. The biochemist conducted further research on the anticoagulant and  isolated a compound that could be used as a blood thinner to treat patients with blood clots.

In continuation of the last of the listed chance discoveries, anticoagulants are often recommended by doctors to prevent formation of clots in the blood vessels of patients with a history of stroke and in certain cases of coronary heart disease. The goal of warfarin therapy is to decrease the clotting tendency of blood in such patients. Therefore, the effect of warfarin must be monitored carefully in conjunction with blood tests that your doctor may recommend. On the basis of the results of the blood test, your doctor will adjust your daily dose of warfarin to keep your clotting time within a target range. To know more, consult a qualified doctor without delay.

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Dr Rahul has Masters in Maxillofacial Surgery with an overall experience of six years. Since the last 2 years, he is working in the Medical operations team of Portea. An Alumni of the Rajiv Gandhi University of Health and Science, he has previously worked with Nationwide- The Family Doctors while as their Chief Consultant Maxillofacial Surgeon and Implantologist. He has a special interest in Facial Trauma Surgery, Dental Implantology and Facial aesthetic surgery. It is not only medicine that fascinates Rahul. He is a die-hard sports enthusiast with a strong passion for Football, Basketball, and Cricket and occasionally strums the guitar, too.


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