Francis Rynd (1801 – 1861) was an Irish physician.

Arguably the inventor of the hypodermic needle, performing and recording the results of the first hypodermic injection on June 3rd 1844. However, the invention is more commonly attributed to Alexander Wood in 1853

In Rynd’s design, a morphine solution flowed under gravity through the skin breaching trochar, acting as a sedative to treat neuralgia. The 1853 invention used a plunger syringe, allowing doctors to inject solutions faster, and to give intravenous injections.

Biography
  • Born 1801 Dublin, Ireland
  • Educated at Trinity College, Dublin
  • Apprentice to Sir Philip Crampton in Meath Hospital
  • Surgeon at the Meath Hospital in Dublin 1836-1861
  • 1830 – MRCS member of the Royal College of Surgeons
  • 1836 – Medical superintendent of the Mountjoy Prison
  • Died 1861

Francis Rynd was a perfect gentleman, and had very polished manners; he mixed in the best society, had most of the nobility in Ireland among his patients, dressed most fashionably, and was a great favourite with the ladies.

Ormsby LH. Francis Rynd. Medical history of the Meath Hospital and County Dublin Infirmary, 1888: 206-209

Hypodermic needle (1844)

In 1844, Francis Rynd developed the first syringe with a hollow needle, although he did not publicise until 1861 when Alexander Wood claimed to have invented the hypodermic syringe

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

Rynd used a cannula and trocar. An incision is made by a lancet and the trocar inserted into the skin. The thin hollow tube, opened at both ends, is fitted over the top of the trocar. Once the cannula was inserted, the trocar was retracted and the medications or fluids placed into the cannula. Produced by John Weiss, surgical instrument maker.

Rynd’s description of the use of his syringe for the first time;

On the 3rd of June a solution of fifteen grains of acetate of morphia, dissolved in one drachm of creosote, was introduced to the supra-orbital nerve, and along the course of the temporal,
malar, and buccal nerves, by four punctures of an instrument made for the purpose. In the space of a minute all pain (except that caused by the operation, which was very slight) had
ceased, and she slept better that night than she had for months.

Rynd F. Neuralgia – introduction of fluid to the nerve. Dublin Med Press 1845; 13: 167–168
Rynd-type hypodermic syringe
Rynd-type hypodermic syringe

Nothing did me any good but a curious little new-fangled operation of putting opium under the skin, which relieved one for 24 hours

Florence Nightingale
Major Publications
References

Biography

  • Obituary: Francis Rynd. Dublin Quarterly Journal of Medical Science. 1862; 33: 254.
  • Ormsby LH. Francis Rynd. Medical history of the Meath Hospital and County Dublin Infirmary, 1888: 206-209
  • Obituary: Francis Rynd (1801-1861). JAMA. 1970; 212(7): 1208.

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Dr Ronan McKenna, MB BCh BAO at National University of Ireland Galway. Living in Australia with  plans for a future in Emergency Medicine. A keen interest in Medical History, Wilderness Medicine and Sport.

Emergency physician MA (Oxon) MBChB (Edin) FACEM FFSEM with a passion for rugby; medical history; medical education; and asynchronous learning #FOAMed evangelist. Co-founder and CTO of Life in the Fast lane | Eponyms | Books | Twitter |

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