Takuo Aoyagi, Ph.D., inventor of pulse oximetry, noted the influence of Dr. Yoshio Ogino, Nihon Kohden’s founder, on his work. Ogino said “a skilled physician can treat only a limited number of patients. But an excellent medical instrument can treat countless patients in the world.” The history of Aoyagi’s invention, first described in 1974, illustrates Ogino’s point in a profound and compelling way. In the years after Aoyagi’s breakthrough, practical oximeters for patient monitoring came to market. Their uptake in the developed world was stunningly rapid. Many factors contributed to this uptake even before publication of standards mandating the use of pulse oximetry monitoring. It would now be a rare clinician who would ever anesthetize a patient without this monitor. And decades later, the capacity to monitor patients with this essential tool is spreading to the developing world....

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