Alexander Wood (1817 – 1884) was a Scottish physician.
Credited with being the inventor of the first hypodermic needle (1853), taking the ‘sting of the bee‘ as his model
‘At first this new hypodermic method was employed exclusively for the administration of morphia and preparations of opium, but it is important to note that, from the outset, Dr Wood pointed to a far wider application.‘ Rev Thomas Brown
- 1817 – Born 10th December in Fife, Scotland
- 1839 – Gained his MD from the University of Edinburgh
- 1858 – President of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh
- 1884 – Died 26th February
- Hypodermic needle
- Wood A. New method of treating neuralgia by the direct application of opiates to the painful points. Edinburgh Medical and Surgical Journal 82: 265-281, 1855
The subcutaneous introduction of fluids, for the relief of neuralgia, was first practised in this country by me, in the Meath Hospital, in the month of May, 1844. [Rynd, 1861]
Legend has it that Wood’s wife, Rebecca Massey, was the first known intravenous morphine addict and died of an overdose delivered by her husband’s invention. Richard Davenport-Hines disagrees, ‘It is a myth: she outlived him, and survived until 1896‘ and the communal burial plot in Dean Cemetery, Edinburgh would seem to agree.
- Brown T. Alexander Wood, M.D., F.R.C.P.E. : a sketch of his life and work. Macniven & Wallace. 1886.
- Davenport-Hines R. The Pursuit of Oblivion – A Global History of Narcotics W. W. Norton. 2004
- Rynd-type hypodermic syringe, London, England, 1860-1880. Brought to Life, Science Museum.
- Musto D. Drugs in America – A Documentary History New York University Press (July 28, 2002)
the person behind the name