THE SUBMARINE, COLOUR photography, soda water, the armoured tank, aircraft ejection seats, rubber soles (yes, rubber soles) and, most importantly, chocolate milk all have something in common.
They were all invented in Ireland or by Irish people.
That list is in no way exhaustive and an event in Dublin this weekend is recognising the fact that the modern injection should also be on it.
Little-known Irish doctor Francis Rynd is credited for administering the first pain-relieving injection in the world more than 150 years ago.
He used an improvised instrument – a forerunner to the hypodermic syringe – to place morphine under the skin of a female patient who was suffering from a common type of facial pain in May 1844.
Dr Rynd established that the procedure was effective and wrote that his patient slept painlessly for the first time in many months after his treatment.
The Meath Hospital-based doctor served the poor of Dublin’s south inner city. His valuable contribution to medicine is being commemorated at a three-day scientific symposium at the Faculty of Pain Medicine at the Irish College of Anaesthetists in Dublin this weekend.
Dr Rynd has been described as an “unheralded hero of Irish medicine”.
“Some 12-13 billion sub cutaneous (under the skin) injections are now administered globally each year and the technique has become invaluable for administering a wide range of vaccines and medications,” said Dr Declan O’Keeffe of the Faculty of Pain Medicine.
The ivory and steel device
Dr Rynd made his “syringe” from two pieces of surgical equipment and then successfully placed a small quantity of morphine in four small holes near the facial nerves in his patient’s face.
The instrument had no plunger and the morphine travelled beneath the skin by gravity.