BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
1. Field of the Invention
This invention relates to a device for handling contaminated persons and, more specifically, the invention relates to a device for isolating fluid draining from persons or animals contaminated with radiation, toxic materials, pathogens, other hazardous materials, etc., in emergency room, medical triage, operating room, morgue, or mortuary-type settings.
2. Background of the Invention
The use of vigorous and sometimes messy resuscitation and emergency medical techniques is a burden for every emergency medical services (EMS) worker, veterinary workers, and surgical staff member. Such personnel must do a thorough job in emergency situations while minimizing risk of self exposure and injury.
A significant danger in triage situations is exposure to hazardous materials such as solvents, toxic materials, contaminated fluids, and pathogens found in blood, urine, semen and other physiological fluids. In surgical settings, fluids may splash to the floor, thereby causing personnel to slip in said fluids resulting in injury to themselves and others while also contaminating the personnel with biohazards.
Various devices exist on the market for use in decontaminating persons contaminated with hazardous materials. U.S. Pat. No. 4,819,925 awarded to Linnemann, et al. on Apr. 11, 1989 discloses a tub adapted to receive a backboard. The tub facilitates drainage of fluid to a receptacle.
U.S. Pat. No. 4,955,666 awarded to Backer on Sep. 11, 1990 discloses a surgical chair with a bag attached to the forward edge of the chair to catch draining fluids during gynecological procedures.
Drawbacks to the aforementioned prior art is that personnel are exposed to draining fluids during evacuation from the surgical tub or chair.
A need exists in the art for a device that immediately isolates the runoff of fluids from a person, such fluids resulting from decontamination procedures, surgery, burn wounds, or trauma situations. Such fluid isolation would provide attending personnel with protection from contamination and also from bodily injury which would otherwise occur due to slippage. Further the device should allow full access to a prone and/or supine person. The device should also allow personnel to transfer patients and fluid reservoirs with minimal lifting to prevent back injuries.
SUMMARY OF INVENTION
An object of the present invention is to provide full length access to the person prone and/or supine on a device that allows EMS and surgical personnel to perform cleaning and surgical procedures in a manner that overcomes many of the disadvantages of the prior art.
Another object of the present invention is to provide a device to immediately protect personnel from fluids draining from surgical patients or persons undergoing decontamination. A feature of the invention is a plurality of isolated fluid conduits extending the length and width of the device. An advantage of the invention is that fluid does not linger in treatment areas, thereby minimizing splashing or possible spillage and reducing the spread of blood-borne pathogens.
Yet another object of the present invention is to provide a device that eliminates the possibility of triage personnel tipping over containers of hazardous fluid. A feature of the device is a combination of gravity-actuated, impermeable fluid conduits terminating into a sealed fluid reservoir situated remotely from the triage operation. An advantage of the device is that contamination of personnel during device clean up is minimized.
Still another object of the present invention is providing a method for the simultaneous decontamination and treatment of a person or animal contaminated with hazardous fluid. A feature of the invention is a surface to facilitate run off of fluid from the person or animal, whereby the same surface is heated or cooled so as to heat or cool the person or animal. An advantage of the present invention is that hypothermia or hyperthermia of the person or animal is avoided during decontamination procedures.
Briefly, the invention provides a device for cleansing a person who has been contaminated with hazardous materials, the device comprising a surface adapted to receive the person; a means for facilitating full length contact of the person with cleaning fluid; a means for immediately isolating the cleaning fluid which has contacted the person; and a means for simultaneously collecting and measuring the isolated cleaning fluid.
Also provided is a device for controlling runoff fluid from a person, the device comprising a first surface adapted to receive the person; a means for immediately isolating fluid which has run off the person; a means for collecting the isolated fluid; and a means to measure the collected fluid in situ.
The invention also provides method for decontaminating a person, the method comprising providing full length access to the person; contacting the person with cleaning fluid so as to transfer contaminants from the person to the fluid; and simultaneously removing, isolating and measuring the fluid.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWING
The invention together with the above and other objects and advantages of the present invention will be best understood from the following detailed description of the preferred embodiment of the invention shown in the accompanying drawing, wherein:
FIG. 1 depicts an elevational view of a new and improved surgical table in accordance with features of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a perspective view of the surgical table in accordance with features of the present invention;
FIGS. 3A-B depict exemplary detailed embodiments of the conduit and apertures in communication with the table, in accordance with features of the present invention;
FIG. 4 depicts the underside of the device, in accordance with features of the present invention;
FIG. 5 illustrates an exemplary drain assembly for a distal drain aperture, in accordance with the features of the present invention;
FIG. 6 depicts a deployed reservoir in hinge-able communication with a housing of the device, in accordance with features of the present invention; and
FIG. 7 depicts a reservoir apart from the housing of the device, in accordance with features of the present invention.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION
The present invention teaches a device to aid in drainage of surgical or other type fluids from a patient or contaminated person. A feature of the device is the conferring of full body access of the person to attending personnel. Another feature is immediate isolation of drainage fluid from the person and from attending personnel. The device allows full and simultaneous access/exposure to at least three sides of the patient while controlling runoff fluid by means of a plurality of fluid collection conduits and an integrally connected fluid catch basin or reservoir or a plurality of such reservoirs.
The present invention is a device wherein there are no walls surrounding the patient holding surface. Such flat surface allows for a smooth transfer of the patient onto the invented table without requiring the patient be lifted over any such barriers. As such, the invention reduces the risk of back injuries to attending medical staff.
As surgeons perform surgery, all of the fluids associated therewith (blood, urine, saline, etc.) run off the table and into a gutter or conduit that encircles the periphery of the table. The fluid then proceeds to one or a plurality drains and flows into the runoff reservoir. The reservoir is housed in an enclosure attached to the table. The enclosure, in slidable communication with the table, allows for removal of the reservoir for easy disposal without having to lift full reservoir containers, again reducing the risk of back injuries. Alternatively, the enclosure is in pivoted or hinge-able communication with the table such that the top end of the enclosure can be tipped relative to horizontal to effectuate evacuation of fluid.
Several different embodiments and uses of the invention are described. One exemplary embodiment of the invented device is designated generally as numeral 10 in FIGS. 1-2.
Generally, the device 10 comprises a flat horizontal surface 12 which may be fabricated to different widths, lengths and depths, depending upon the size of the patient, the specific medical use (for use on an examination table in the ER, for use on the operating table in surgery, or for use on a gurney in the field.) The device could also be configured based on patient type (obesity, pediatrics, short back board situations in extrication scenarios, etc.) However, when designed for use amongst the general population, the width is generally between approximately 22 inches and 30 inches. The length of the surface 12 is such that the device can receive and support a standard-length backboard, and therefore a short backboard. Generally, the dimensions of a standard backboard vary in length and width, typical dimensions are 72 inches in length and 18 inches in width.
The horizontal surface 12 is placed on a support 14, which can have a means for adjusting the height and tilt of the surface 12. Such a support includes, but is not limited to, a surgical table, an ambulance gurney, an emergency room gurney, a bed, a table, or any other generally horizontal surface.
A feature of the device is that the floors 23 of troughs 16 defining the periphery of the device 10 are adapted to be varied a few degrees from the horizontal in situations where viscosity of drainage fluid requires more rapid drainage through drains (i.e., apertures) 20, 22 positioned at the floors 23.
The troughs 16, extend along the periphery of the surface 12. As depicted in FIGS. 3A-B, the floors 23 of the troughs 16 are positioned at or below the level of the surface 12. The conduits/gutters 16 are in fluid communication with the surface 12 inasmuch as the gutters are integrally molded with the surface 12. Corner detail of the troughs is configured as a radius to facilitate rapid fluid flow and prevent build up of sediment.
In the embodiment depicted in FIG. 3B, the conduit 16 is positioned below the plane defined by the surface 12 and extends along the periphery or outer edge 13 of the surface 12. In this embodiment, an upwardly facing edge 27 of the wall 21 of the conduit 16 is coplanar with the surface 12.
In the embodiment depicted in FIG. 3A, an upperwardly-extending portion 25 of the laterally-facing (i.e. outwardly facing) wall 21 of the trough protrudes above the level of the surface 12 so as to be above the plane formed by the surface 12. This defines a raised side relative to the surface 12. This raised portion 25 prevents fluid in high volume scenarios from running off the surface 12 before it enters drainage apertures 20, 22. Preferably, the raised side extends above the patient support surface 12 no more than one half of its total height "h` as shown in FIG. 3A. However, this height restriction is not crucial on the ends 12a, 12b of the device inasmuch as shifting of patients from ambulance gurneys to hospital beds to surgical tables occurs from a lateral position, toward the midline of the target support surface.
The illustrations generally show the troughs 16 integrally molded with the rest of the device. Conversely, the conduits may be reversibly attached to the device via standard fasteners, hook-and-pile configurations, or tongue and groove configurations.
The surface has a first end 12a, near where a patient's head may be positioned, and a second end 12b, near where the patient's feet may be positioned.
The troughs are emptied of fluid by means of drain apertures 20 and 22. The apertures 20 and 22 preferably are located along the mid-line or longitudinal axis α of the surface 12 and along the first end 12a and the second end 12b, respectively. The apertures 20 and 22 serve as drain openings adapted to receive runoff fluid from the conduits 16. In one embodiment, the aperture 22 is positioned directly above the opening of a reservoir 24 thereby allowing immediate evacuation/isolation of fluid communication from the trough 16 and into the reservoir 24. This is particularly noteworthy in instances where the device is tilted from horizontal (during obstetric procedures, for example) resulting in greater fluid flow toward the aperture 22 at the now lowered end 12b of the device. In such instances, the outward wall 21 defining the trough immediately adjacent the aperture is extended upwardly more than the one-half height feature of a preferred embodiment (discussed supra) so as to prevent fluid overflow from the surgical table 12. Alternatively, in instances where the head needs to be lowered (e.g., patient shock), the corresponding outward wall 21 is formed so as to further extend upwardly.
One end of the aperture 20 is adapted to receive a fluid drain conduit 30 as depicted in FIG. 4. The drain conduit 30, which may be comprised of plastic, nylon, PVC, fiberglass, and polyethylene, is a length sufficient to direct runoff fluid received from the aperture 20 to the reservoir 24. The drain conduit 30 connects the aperture 20 to a receiving end 24a of the reservoir 24. The drain aperture 20 is in fluid communication with a reservoir 24 by means of tubing attached along the underside of surface 32.
While the drawing depicts the invented table as having one reservoir, a plurality of reservoirs arranged along the periphery of the table are also envisioned. In one embodiment, a reservoir is located at each end of the table, coaxial with the longitudinal midline α of the table. This configuration allows for shorter conduit lengths between apertures and reservoirs. As such, this will obviate the need for the longitudinally extending conduit 30 (so depicted in FIG. 4) and therefore the potential clogging associated with fluid traveling through such a long conduit.
The drain assembly of the device 10, as depicted in FIG. 5, comprises stainless steel, nylon, plastic, PVC, polyethylene, or fiberglass units. Rigid angled fittings (i.e. elbows) 34 or flexible fittings are used to connect a first end 36 of the drain conduit 30 to the aperture 20 on the underside 32 of the surface 12. This connection can be effected via a stretch fit of the first end 36 of the conduit 30 over a flared portion 38 of the elbow fitting 34. Alternatively, a nonmetallic hose clamp or a male-female threaded configuration can be used to effect a leak-proof connection. The elbow fitting is connected to the underside of the surface 12 in a male-female threaded arrangement wherein the elbow fitting 34 is the male threaded element and the drain aperture 20 is threaded to receive said fitting 34. Press fit arrangements or integrally molding the fitting 34 to the periphery of the aperture 20 also is suitable.
The runoff fluid flows through the conduit 16 and into the reservoir 24 via drain apertures 20 and 22 as assisted by gravity. As such, the floors 23 of the troughs or gutters are slanted toward said apertures.
The device also can be adapted to effectuate fluid collection by means of a negative pressure system, which is not shown in this description.
The reservoir 24 is located within a reservoir support housing 26 that is connected or otherwise positioned in close spatial relationship to the underside of the surface 12 directly underneath the drain aperture 22. The reservoir 24 is generally depicted as cylindrical in shape. The reservoir 24 can be any shape, including, but not limited to, cylindrical, rectangular, and cubic. The corresponding reservoir support housing 26 would then be adapted to slidably receive the corresponding shape reservoir 24.
The reservoir 24 possesses a means by way of a handle 28 by which the reservoir 24 may be pulled horizontally out of the housing 26 so that said reservoir 24 may be emptied and cleaned. A horizontal sliding engagement with the housing (rather than a vertical removal method) reduces the risk of injury resulting from lifting a fluid-filled reservoir 24. This configuration also provides a means to measure the volume of fluid collected, prior to final disposal. Optionally, the pull-out reservoir container would define at least one side 29 containing graduated fluid volume indicators 31. Optionally, this at least one side is transparent so as to provide a means to view the fluid level through the side.
Alternatively, and as mentioned supra, the reservoir can be in pivotal communication with the housing, with an upwardly extending lip of the reservoir shaped into a spout 27 to afford evacuation of reservoir contents when the lip is tipped below horizontal. In this configuration, laterally projecting protuberances 33, are situated at a proximal end of the reservoir. These protuberances 33 slidably engage with regions of opposing sides 27 of the housing 26. The sides 27 define channels 35 which extend parallel to the longitudinal axis α of the device and which slidably receive the protuberances 33. Optionally, a distal end of the channels terminates with a stop 29, thereby serving as a point of rotation of the reservoir about its protuberances while the reservoir is still engaged to the housing.
The capacity of the reservoir 24 will vary, depending on which procedures are to be performed using the device 10.
Construction Material Detail
Much of the device is constructed with nonmetallic material. Such material should allow for easy cleaning/sterilizing and also should not be prone to corrosion. Further, materials that are not electrically conductive are preferred to allow cardioversion or defibrillation of the supine individual. Materials also can be selected to confer an acceptable level of radio-translucence.
Materials for construction will vary, depending on treatment scenarios. For example, in situations where x-rays or patient imaging is required, radio-translucent materials are preferable, including, but not limited to, plastic, glass, fiberglass, ceramic, sealed wood, polyvinyl chloride, thermoplastic, reinforced, thermoplastic (such as polypropylene, polycarbonate, polybutylene, terephalate, and polyphenylene sulfide), or a combination of these materials. Otherwise, stainless steel and other more radio-opaque materials are suitable.
Various support members, couplers, and anchors can be constructed with PVC piping, nonmetallic rod stock, nonmetallic struts, trusses, brackets, flanges, braces, or other type of shaft comprised of plastic, wood, fiberglass and other non-corrosive materials enumerated supra.
The device, including the drainage reservoirs, is relatively impermeable to a myriad of substances, including, but not limited to, water, various alcohols (including methanol, ethanol, propanol, isopropanol, butanol, etc.) ketones, aldehydes and other polar and nonpolar aliphatics (substituted or otherwise, for example, halogenated ethylenes, carbon tetrachloride, chloroform), polar and nonpolar aromatics (such as toluene, benzene, halogenated aromatics, xylene, substituted aromatics, etc.), polyaromatics (such as naphthalene and its halogenated counterparts), biphenyls (such as polyhalogenated dibenzo dioxins, pesticides, etc.), organic and inorganic acids and alkalies, various motor fuels, inorganic compounds (such as ammonia, and the halogens fluorine, chlorine, bromine, and iodine), vehicle fuels, among others.
The nature of the materials used to construct the device and the operation of the invented device (wherein copious amounts of water and surfactants are employed in decontamination procedures to dilute the contaminant) result in minimal direct and sustained contact of the above enumerated compounds to the device 10 at high molarities. Therefore, the structural integrity of the device 10 will not be compromised.
While the invention has been described with reference to details of the illustrated embodiments, these details are not intended to limit the scope of the invention as defined in the appended claims. For example, a heat exchanger either contacts or else is positioned in close spatial relationship to the substrate comprising the patient support surface so as to either heat or cool the surface. Specifically, a means for heating the patient support surface 12 can be utilized to prevent or minimize hypothermia. Such means includes cavities integrally molded into the underside 32 of the surface, said cavities adapted to receive heating packs. Other heating means include the attachment of electrically powered heating coils to the underside 32 of the surface so as to confer thermal conductance of heat through the substrate comprising the patient support surface and to the patient.
To minimize shock hazard, non-electric heating coils are provided comprising a network of conduits adapted to receive pressurized heated water or steam or other fluid. The conduits would have a means of fluid ingress and egress so that the temperature of the fluid residing therein can be controlled.
A means of heating the gutters and evacuation conduits also is provided to stymie or prevent agglomeration of fluids in the gutters and conduits prior to their final disposal in the reservoirs 24.
Alternatively, a means for cooling the surface are provided, comprising a network of conduits adapted to receive cooled fluid, such as pressurized cooled water, Freon, expanding vapor, or other vehicle. Also, cooling packs (instead of the heating packs discussed supra) are utilized to cool down the patient support surface 12.