THE X-RAY MACHINE AND THE ELECTROCARDIOGRAM IN HOSPITALS Although today we accept machines as a desirable part of medical practice, that was not always the case (1). Medical technology has been widely used only since the 20th century. The machines that had the greatest impact were the x-ray and the electrocardiogram. Roentgen’s description of x-rays in 1895 shocked the Western world. The ability to see within the human body had a profound impact on both lay and professional communities, and the x-ray machine quickly came to symbolize the most advanced, scientific approach to medicine. According to a splendid article by Howell (1), the Pennsylvania Hospital in 1897, like many other hospitals, purchased its first x-ray machine. Although trauma accounted for 4 of the 5 common surgical diagnoses at the Pennsylvania Hospital at the turn of the century, there is no mention of x-ray use in 1897. In 1902, the x-ray machine was still rarely used.