Prof Robert Andrew Hingson

Personal Details

Prof Robert Andrew Hingson

13/04/1913 to 09/10/1996

Place of birth: Anniston, Alabama, USA

Nationality: American

CRN: 531928

Also known as: Robert

Education and qualifications

General education

School not known; University of Alabama; Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia

Primary medical qualification(s)

MD, Emory University , 1938

Initial Fellowship and type

Honorary FFARCS

Year of Fellowship


Other qualification(s)

BA, University of Alabama, 1935.

Professional life and career

Postgraduate career

After graduating, Hingson was an intern at the US Marine Hospital, Staten Island, New York and then joined the Coast Guard as a Public Health Officer and, with the help of Henry Morgenthau, US Treasury Secretary who he had treated, Hingson arranged a one year fellowship with John Lundy at the Mayo Clinic. He actually stayed two years and then returned to the Marine Hospital as Chief of Anesthesiology. The hospital looked after wives as well as soldiers and, with his own wife pregnant, Hingson developed an interest in relief of pain in childbirth, focusing on the use of local anaesthetics by the caudal approach. Still in the Public Health Service he was transferred sequentially to Philadelphia as Director of Anesthesia (1943), Memphis as Professor of Anesthesiology (1945) and Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore as Professor of Anesthesia Research (1948) concentrating on the improvement of obstetric anaesthesia services in all of these posts. In 1951, he retired as a public health officer and became Professor/Director in Cleveland, Ohio where he developed a portable anaesthetic machine, the Western Reserve Midget, and a needle-less jet injector system used primarily for vaccination. Hingson held this post for 22 years before resigning to become the full-time director of the Brother’s Brother Foundation, finally retiring in 1981.

Professional interests and activities

Hingson had little involvement with the organisations of anaesthesia because public health, particularly in the developing world, remained a major, probably the major, interest in his life. The jet injector was an early indicator of this interest and a medical mission survey conducted in 1958 with the Baptist World Alliancce led to the formation of the Brother’s Brother Foundation, a volunteer, non-sectarian group dedicated to linking America’s vast medical resources to global health care needs. At the last count it had provided help to 146 countries worldwide.

Other biographical information

Hingson retired to a farm in Georgia leaving his son as director of the Foundation. He received many invitations from across Northern America and Europe to describe his continuous caudal technique, work for which he was the 1981 recipient of the Labat Award from the American Society of Regional Anesthesia. He was presented with humanitarian awards from almost every country in which he served, was nominated for a Nobel Prize and received the (US) President’s (Reagan) Volunteer Action Award.


Author and Sources

Author: Prof Tony Wildsmith

Sources and any other comments: The definitive biography of Hingson was written by Dr Henry Rosenberg (Robert Andrew Hingson, MD: OB Analgesia Pioneer 1913-1996. ASA Newsletter 1999; 69: 12-13) and I thank him for help with this summary. See also