Thursday, May 20, 2010


Forms of intravenous injection and infusion began as early as 1670. However, Charles Gabriel Pravaz and Alexander Wood were the first to develop a syringe with a needle fine enough to pierce the skin in 1853.

Many of the technical difficulties which had faced those experimenting with blood transfusion were removed after 1853 by the invention of the hypodermic syringe, with its hollow pointed needle. Credit for the evolution of this universally useful appliance is usually given to Doctor Alexander Wood (born 1817), who was appointed Secretary of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh in 1850. For some time, Doctor Wood had been experimenting with a hollow needle for the administration of drugs. It was first used to inject morphine as a painkiller.
Eventually, he felt confident enough to publish in "The Edinburgh Medical and Surgical Review" a short paper - 'A New Method of treating Neuralgia by the direct application of Opiates to the Painful Points' - in which he showed that the method was not necessarily limited to the administration of opiates. At about the same time, Charles Gabriel Pravaz of Lyon was making a similar syringe which quickly came into use in many surgeries under the name of 'The Pravaz Syringe'.

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