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Type > Tools & Equipment > Blood lancet

Accession # SRM1979-40.11

Blood lancet


This three-bladed lancet, or fleam, was used for cutting into flesh in order to start the bleeding process of a person with an ailment. Bleeding was a very common practice up until the late 19th century. It was believed that letting out large quantities of blood from a person would cure a wide variety of ailments but, with the occasional exception of hypertension, it was actually very harmful to the person bled. The most common medical instrument was the lancet. Most surgeons preferred a spring lancet to a plain lancet because it was less likely to sever a vain. The bloodletter would rub the patient's arm, giving a stick to them to hold while a tourniquet was applied above the elbow and then the vein jabbed.

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