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Scottish fact of the week: The hypodermic needle

A man prepares a flu shot with a hypodermic needle. Picture: Getty

A man prepares a flu shot with a hypodermic needle. Picture: Getty

THE invention of the hypodermic needle is credited to two men - Frenchman Charles Pravaz (1791–1853) and Scottish physician Alexander Wood (1817–1884), who made their discoveries independently of each other.

In 1853, Wood sought to demonstrate the effectiveness of the hypodermic needle as a means to administer morphine to patients.

But Wood pointed out that the needle, attached to a syringe that could deliver the painkiller, had the potential for broader medical applications, including the injection of other fluids, as well as the extraction of blood.

The needle’s design allowed for efficient relief of pain while also reducing potential contamination.

Though the needle has gone on to revolutionise medical care throughout the world, it’s not universally popular; an estimated 10 per cent of the population are feart of the jag.

 

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