You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who really enjoys shots, the injection kind that is. There’s just something about literally getting stabbed and then having a foreign liquid pumped into your bloodstream from a syringe that just isn’t what you would call a fun recreational activity, at least if you’re not into heroin. With any luck, however, getting vaccinated will be getting a lot less unpleasant soon thanks to a clever invention by Oliver Blackwell which may be able to at least take the pain part out of getting shots. How, you ask? By stabbing you twice, instead of just once.
It’s an elegantly unintuitive solution to the problem of injection-site pain considering it doubles the stabbing. Blackwell’s device — a multistage syringe — comes with two needles instead of one. The first tiny one delivers a fast-acting, local anesthetic, the second larger one delivers the payload. According to Blackwell, this could minimize the pain of injection to something along the lines of “a fly landing on your palm.” Sounds pretty good to me.
Part of the reason anesthetics aren’t already the norm is because, at the moment, if you want to administer one, you’re going to be dealing with two separate needles. That may not sound like a big deal, but considering all the shots that are given in the world, the time and effort of producing, storing, filling, fetching, and using two different syringes takes a lot of time and money, not to mention it increases the chances of contamination since you’re doubling the amount of needles that have to be stabbed into a patient’s tender flesh.
Blackwell’s device solves this problem by ingeniously placing the syringes inside of one another so that they can both live in the same housing. This way, you’re only really dealing with the one device, but you still get the benefit of using two different, appropriately sized needles and dispensing two complimentary drugs. Sounds nice, right?
In addition to lowering the overall level of screaming children at any given doctor’s office, the virtually pain-free multistage syringe could offer relief to other, more pain-tolerant people who simply have the misfortune of having to be stabbed with needles on a regular basis, like diabetics, for instance. With any luck, the multistage syringe will prove itself and be adopted into standard use sometime in the near future. After all, if we aren’t at a point where we can avoid repeatedly stabbing people with needles, we might as well make it as painless as possible, right?
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