ImpactedNurse has a post on historical nursing equipment. Check out the workmanship on this safety case for a mercury thermometer. Life is just not the same nowadays. I know many people would quote me statistics about the danger I would face in an old hospital, not to mention the lack of care. But overall, in terms of total utility, I'm not sure that modern times have it over the pre-computer age, or even the pre-industrial age. See the post for an image of an old stethoscope.