Title:
DISPOSABLE SPLINT
United States Patent 3695258


Abstract:
A disposable external splint adapted to be wrapped around a body member, such as an arm or leg, to protect and immobolize the body member. The splint includes a consumable support pad which is relatively rigid about one axis, to support and immobolize the body member, and is flexible about an axis perpendicular to the rigid axis, such that the pad may be wrapped around the body member and secured. The pad is received in a disposable envelope, which preferably includes an absorbent layer adapt to contact the body member.



Inventors:
CASTLE MAURICE E
Application Number:
05/058408
Publication Date:
10/03/1972
Filing Date:
07/27/1970
Assignee:
MAURICE E. CASTLE
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A61F5/058; (IPC1-7): A61F5/04
Field of Search:
128/87,89,90,93,156,155
View Patent Images:
US Patent References:
3540441SURGICAL DRAPE WITH HAND RECEIVING CUFFNovember 1970Collins
3496934DISPOSABLE IMMOBILIZING SPLINTFebruary 1970Anderson
3374785Cervical collarMarch 1968Gaylord
3232289Temporary splintFebruary 1966Zimmerman
2868193Emergency splint compressJanuary 1959Kreft
2834341SplintMay 1958Stryker
2785672Surgical splintMarch 1957Napoli
2409195Surgical splintOctober 1946Crawford



Primary Examiner:
Gaudet, Richard A.
Assistant Examiner:
Yasko J.
Claims:
What is claimed is

1. A disposable external splint which is consumable in an incinerator or the like adapted to be wrapped around a body member to protect and immobolize the body member, comprising: a relatively flat consumable splint support pad including a plurality of absorbant creped fibrous sheets each having a plurality of closely spaced generally parallel crimps said plurality of creped sheets each being substantially parallel about one axis for providing sufficient rigidity to the support pad and to support and immobolize the body member without requiring additional support means and relatively flexible about an axis substantially perpendicular to said one axis, such that the pad may be wrapped around the body member and secured in place, and a consumable envelope enclosing said splint support pad including a layer of absorbant materials adapted to contact the body member.

2. The disposable external splint defined in claim 1, characterized in that said disposable splint pad includes two distinct layers, each comprising a plurality of thin sheets of consumable material and one of said distinct layers being formed of an absorbent material adapted to be positioned adjacent the body member, adjacent said absorbent envelope layer.

3. The disposable external splint defined in claim 1, characterized in that said absorbent envelope layer includes a representation of the body member to be splinted, to aid in the positioning of the body member on the splint.

4. The disposable external splint defined in claim 3, characterized in that said representation is an ink outline of the body member.

5. The disposable external splint defined in claim 1, characterized in that said disposable envelope is sealed at the periphery of said support pad, such that the pad may be preserved in a sterile condition.

6. The disposable external splint defined in claim 1, characterized in that said disposable envelope, opposite said absorbent layer, includes a layer of waterproof material providing a waterproof exterior surface for the splint.

7. The disposable external splint defined in claim 6, characterized in that said waterproof material is a thin sheet of plastic material.

8. The disposable external splint defined in claim 6, characterized in that said absorbent envelope layer is a thin sheet of plastic reinforced absorbent paper.

9. The disposable external splint defined in claim 6, characterized in that said envelope is sealed by stitching together said layers.

10. The disposable external splint defined in claim 7, characterized in that said envelope includes a plurality of strips of strippable adhesive tape secured to said plastic sheet and extending generally perpendicular to said one axis, from a peripheral edge of the envelope, adapted to secure the splint around a body member.

11. The disposable external splint defined in claim 1, characterized in that said consumable envelope includes an imprint of the body member adapted to be splinted, to position the body member correctly relative to the axis of the crimps.

12. The disposable external splint defined in claim 1, characterized in that said consumable envelope includes a sheet of absorbent material adapted to be received against the body member and a sheet of fluid repellent material opposite the absorbent sheet adapted to provide a waterproof exterior for the splint.

13. The disposable external splint described in claim 12, characterized in that a plurality of strippable adhesive tape strips are secured to said sheet of fluid repellent material, generally perpendicular to the axis of said crimps, to secure the splint after it is rolled around the body member.

Description:
FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This disclosure relates to wrap around disposable splints suitable for splinting human body members, such as arms and legs in hospital emergency rooms, and the like.

PRIOR ART

A common form of hospital emergency room splint includes a perforated metal envelope which receives the body member; various forms of padding are provided in the metal envelope. This form of splint often causes pressure sores, especially at the body protuberances of the extremities, such as the heel or ankle in a leg splint. A re-usable wrap around cloth or foam rubber splint has also been considered, however these splints require wood slat reinforcement, or the like, and must be cleaned and sterilized prior to use. An object of the present invention is to provide a simple disposable splint which reduces the pressure points that exist in current rigid splints, eliminating pressure sores, and which may be consumed or otherwise disposed of after use.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The disposable external splint of this invention is a generally flat, pad-like member which is adapted to be wrapped around a body member to protect and immobolize the same. The splint includes a disposable support pad composed of relatively thin layers or sheets compressed into a pad which is relatively rigid about one axis in the plane of the pad, to support and immobolize the body member and flexible about an axis perpendicular to the rigid axis, such that the pad may be wrapped around the body member and secured in place. In the disclosed embodiment of the invention, the support pad is formed from thin consumable sheets of creped fibrous material, such as paper, wherein the pad is relatively rigid in the axis of the crimps and flexible perpendicular thereto.

The support pad is enclosed in a consumable envelope, which in the preferred embodiment includes a layer or sheet of absorbent material adapted to contact the body member and absorb body fluids, perspiration and the like. The opposite external sheet of the envelope may be waterproof to protect the body member and prevent leakage from the splint.

The disposable splint of this invention will yield slightly at the body protrusions of the splinted body member, eliminating pressure sores, yet is sufficiently rigid to protect and immobolize the member. The disposable splint eliminates the requirement of additional reinforcement means, such as wood or metal slats, and is disposed of rather than cleaned. The substantial reduction in cost of the splint of this invention makes it practical to dispose of, however the splint is also preferably formed of consumable materials which are easily disposed of in hospital incinerators, or the like. Other advantages and meritorious features will more fully appear from the following descriptions, claims and accompanying drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a top perspective view of the disposable splint of this invention;

FIG. 2 is a side cross sectional view of the embodiment shown in FIG. 1, in the direction of view arrows 2--2;

FIG. 3 is an exploded view of an end portion of the embodiment shown in FIG. 1;

FIG. 4 is a top perspective view of the disposable splint of this invention wrapped around a human forearm; and

FIG. 5 is an end view of the disposable splint shown in FIG. 4, in the direction of view arrows 5--5.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS

The disclosed embodiment of the disposable external splint of this invention includes a support pad, indicated generally at 20 and a consumable envelope or enclosure 22. In this embodiment of the invention, the support pad includes an inner layer 24 adapted to be positioned adjacent the splinted body member and an outer layer 26. The envelope also includes an inner absorbent layer or sheet 28 and an outer layer 30. The support pad is preferably formed of a disposable or consumable material which is relatively rigid about one axis 32 in the plane of the splint, see FIG. 1, to protect and immobolize the splinted body member, and flexible in the axis 34 generally perpendicular to the rigid axis, such that the splint may be wrapped around a body member 36 as shown in FIG. 4. In the preferred embodiment, the support pad is sufficiently rigid in the axis 34 such that the splint does not require additional reinforcement, such as wood slats, yet is sufficiently flexible to avoid pressure sores, as described above.

In this embodiment, the layers 24 and 26 of the support pad 20 are formed from a plurality of relatively thin sheets or layers, which are compressed into a pad having the preferred physical properties described hereinabove. The requisite rigidity of the pad may be provided by the structure of the material itself, such as expanded sheet material having an internal lattice structure, or the sheets may be processed after forming, as by folding or creping. A preferred material comprises a plurality of sheets of a consumable creped fibrous material, such as paper, which are compressed into a relatively flat pad-like member. In this embodiment, the crimps 38, which are the "folds" in a crepe material as shown in FIG. 3, are parallel to the relatively rigid axis 34 and provide the requisite rigidity for the splint. The crepe material is also flexible about the axis 32 generally perpendicular to the rigid axis, permitting rolling or wrapping of the splint about the body member.

The internal layer 24 of this embodiment of the pad is preferably formed of a relatively soft absorbent material, which may be more expensive than the outer layer 26. The outer layer may be formed from a coarser, less expensive material as it is not received against the body member. The outer layer 26 may also be more rigid. It will be understood that a number of materials may be found suitable for the support pad, however a material which has been tested and found suitable is made by Kimberly Clark Corporation and sold under the Trademark "Kimpac." The soft inner absorbent material is designated as "K-21" by Kimberly Clark Corporation and the outer material is designated as "K-51."

The envelope 22 is also preferably formed of materials which are consumable for the reasons given hereinabove, and in the preferred embodiment the inner layer 28 is formed of an absorbent material to absorb body fluids, blood, perspiration and the like. These fluids may than be absorbed by the support pad. A suitable material for the inner sheet is also sold by Kimberly Clark corporation under the Trademark "Kimlon," however other suitable materials may also be used. Kimlon is presently used in disposable bed linnen, and is composed of a relatively soft paper product reinforced with plastic fibers to prevent tearing. The outer sheet 30 of the envelope may be formed of a water repellent or fluid resistant material to protect the body member and prevent leakage of the fluids absorbed in the support pad 20. Various materials may be used for the outer sheet, including relatively thin sheets of plastic, such as polyethylene. Plastic materials are also preferred to prevent tearing by the strippable adhesive tape 40, described hereinbelow. In this embodiment, the sheets of the envelope 22 extend beyond the marginal edges of the pad to form a flange 42, which may be sewn or secured by other suitable means.

It will be understood that the disposable splint of this invention may be utilized to splint various body members, such as an arm or leg, and therefore the size and shape of the splint will vary somewhat according to the particular application. The disclosed embodiment of the disposable splint is approximately 12 inches square and is adapted to splint an adult forearm 36 or similar body member, as shown in FIG. 4. The same splint may be used for either a right or left forearm, for example, and in the preferred embodiment a representation of the body member to be splinted in printed or otherwise provided on the inner sheet 28 of the envelope. The outline 44 of the body member indicates the preferred position of the body member and locates the body member relative to the relatively rigid axis 34, which in this embodiment is generally parallel to the crimps 38 in the crepe material. The representation may be printed in waterproof ink or made by other suitable techniques.

The disposable splint of this invention is merely wrapped around the body member, as shown in FIG. 4, and secured by any suitable means. In the preferred embodiment, a plurality of strips of strippable adhesive tape are provided on the plastic external sheet 30 of the envelope, and when the splint is wrapped around the body member, as shown in FIGS. 4 and 5, the strips are disposed over the opposed marginal edge of the splint and pressed in place. The splint may then be easily opened or removed to inspect the body member without disturbing or injuring the body member. The plastic sheet 28 prevents tearing and permits resecurement after inspection. This is considered an improvement over conventional techniques requiring an elastic bandage or stocking net. A number of disposable splint, in various sizes, may easily be stored in hospital emergency rooms or operating rooms, for example, and the splint may be applied by relatively unskilled personnel. The representation 44 of the body member indicates the position of the body member and avoids improper use. The disposable splint may be provided in disposable sterile paper envelopes for immediate use, and disposed of in the hospital incinerator. The disposable splint of this invention is less expensive than presently available devices and substantially reduces the labor involved in applying and cleaning the commercially available splints.