What is the history behind the invention of hypodermic syringe?

Even the most mentally strong people can be found wary when the words syringe and injection are mentioned before them. Most people have developed an uncharacteristic fear for injection. There is even a word for it: trypanophobia. They like to take bitter medicine than suffer the pain of injection. In fact, syringe is a great help. The medicine we swallow take some time to reach the stomach and then enter the blood and then to reach the intended organ. But often, the medicine must be applied urgently and that is where the need of syringe comes. The syringes have a hollow needle at the tip of medicine tube, which can pierce the skin. Through this needle, fluids can be injected into the body and bodily fluids can be extracted as well.
The practice of injecting medicines into body has a long history. The concept of injection had taken root in as early as second century AD. The controversial doctor Galen used to inject medicine directly into brain of the patients. From 17th century, various scientists had indulged in experiments of syringes. During his experiments on the circulatory system, William Harvey used to inject various colors into blood vessels. All these injection systems had a major drawback. These could be applied only through a natural opening or a wound on the body. The doctors used to make small cuts on the body for injections which was a dangerous practice.
In 1844, Irish doctor Francis Rynd made a hollow needle, which changed the history of syringes. He claimed to have injected drugs into a woman using his invention. A few years later, a French doctor named Charles Gabriel Pravaz entered with his own hypodermic syringe. Hypodermic means anything beneath the skin. Actually it was coined in 1858 only, by Dr. Charles Hunter. Pravaz’s hollow needle, made of silver, was 3 cm long and of 5 mm in diameter. The doctor had only to push the piston to inject the medicine into body once the needle was inside the body. If the piston was drawn back, the blood could be collected in the syringe. Pravaz’s achievement was in 1853. Around the same time, a Scottish doctor named Alexander Wood also invented an identical syringe. It was Wood who made the syringe popular over the world. He used it to inject drugs into patients and himself and eventually became an addict of morphine along with his wife.
The syringe underwent various innovations in later years and in 1949, an Australian inventor named Charles Rothauser developed the world’s first disposable hypodermic syringe. In 1956, Colin Murdoch from New Zealand made the first fully disposable plastic syringe as well. Today there are billions of users of the contraption.

Related posts:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *