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Alexander Wood. Portrait of Alexander Wood (1817- 84), Scottish physician and inventor of the hypodermic needle. The syringe, consisting of a piston in a tube, had long been known when in 1853 Wood thought to add a hollow needle. This could be inserted into the skin to deliver drugs. The hypodermic needle was independently invented by the French engineer C.G. Pravaz (1791-1853) at about the same time. The needle allowed drugs to be quickly and effectively delivered to a patient. It soon found other uses:- Wood's wife becoming the first hypodermic drug addict.
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