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Needle - Lumbar Puncture, Sprigfield's, circa 1930 Object Reg. No: SH 850145

Due to prevalence of syphilis in the 19th and early 20th century the incidence of 'general paralysis of the insane' (GPI) was very common. Spinal lumbar puncture was a routine test for any patient in asylums considered to have GPI. Fluid extracted from spine & tested for syphilis spirochetes.Used in Victorian mental health hospital circa 1930.
Springfield's spinal needle is a very fine tube of chrome-plated brass (or gold?). It has a hollow, scalpel-type blade and a handle shaped like tiny doorknob with a pin sticking out of the bottom which fits into a groove on the top of the sheath handle. The fine tubular, chrome-plated steel sheath also has a scalpel-type point. The needle inside reaches exactly to the open end of the sheath. The handle has a flat, round piece surmounted by a ball, to which is attached a minute tap which only turns when the needle is out. There is a ridged hose attachment.
Acquisition Information:
Donation from Office of Psychiatric Services
Discipline: History
Dimensions: 22 mm (Height), 20 mm (Width)

More information

Tagged with: psychiatric hospitals, surgical apparatus instruments, syphilis, making history - psych services
Themes this item is part of: Psychiatric Services Collection, Medicine in Society Collection, Public Life & Institutions Collection
On Display at: Melbourne Museum
Primary Classification: MEDICINE & HEALTH
Secondary Classification: Mental Health - Surgery
Tertiary Classification: equipment
Inscriptions: Engraved: BRITISH MADE.
Place & Date Used: Victoria, Australia, circa 1930
References: card with exhibit.

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