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.

Physical Description

spinal needle is wire-thin stain steel with scalpel-type point. It fits into a very fine tubular sheath which has a hollow scalpel point. The needle just reaches the end of the sheath. The heads of two fit one above the other to make an ornate, hat-pin-like handle with a square "balcony" surmounted by a series of rings, with a flat circular tap.

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