A catheter is a thin and flexible tube inserted into a bodily passage or cavity in order to allow fluids to pass into or out of it, to distend (expand) it, or to convey diagnostic or other instruments through it. Of course, Franklin's invention of the device in December, 1752, was a much cruder version of today's device. In fact, his work was actually a modification on the work of a European catheter. Nevertheless, it remains the first one of its type created in America. The mechanism was constructed by the scientist for his brother John, who was extremely ill at the time.
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