Skip to content

Were latex gloves invented for money or sex?

October 22, 2009

[from The Long Road to Medical School]

But then [the neurosurgeon] asked me: Who invented latex gloves? Was it for money or sex?

Allow me to satisfy your burning curiosity. The answer is William Stewart Halsted. For sex.

So apparently, Halsted had a thing for one of his OR nurses. But her hands were becoming red and chafed from all the hand washing she had to do in order to assist him. Eventually things got so bad that she told Dr. Halsted that she was returning home to Ohio or some such because she just couldn’t take the hand discomfort any longer. So, in order to keep her around, Dr. Halsted commissioned someone at Goodyear Tire Company to invent a pair of gloves so thin that they would not interfere with sensitivity while operating.

Thus, the nurse was able to continue working in Halsted’s OR, and in fact later became his wife.

Read Halsted’s wikipedia page.  It is the most fascinating biographical wikipedia page I’ve ever read. It will also make you feel like you haven’t done enough with your life, no matter how accomplished you may be.

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: