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The present invention relates to a human remains cooling pad and cooling system to supply chilled fluid to the cooling pad.
One embodiment of the present invention is a cooling pad that may be used for chilling human remains that has a first end and a second end, and an internal cavity that is segmented at the first end into a feed section and a return section. The pad further contains an inlet feed at the first end feed section for supplying chilled fluid into the feed section of the cooling pad and an outlet return at the first end return section for returning fluid to be chilled, located in the return section of the cooling pad. The cooling pad is configured to circulate chilled fluid from the feed section to the return section in a one-way flow arrangement.
Another embodiment of the present invention is a scalable and portable human remains cooling system with a chiller unit having a chilled fluid supply, at least one primary fluid line divided into a primary fluid supply line and a primary fluid return line for providing a chilled fluid for cooling human remains and circulating warmed fluid back to the chiller for re-chilling. The system further has a flow divider manifold including a chilled fluid input having a series of chilled fluid output ports in fluid communication with the primary fluid supply line from the chiller for receiving and dispersing the chilled fluid supply and the manifold includes a warm fluid output including a series of warm fluid input ports in fluid communication with the primary fluid return line to the chiller unit for re-chilling. The system further contains a secondary fluid line that is divided into a secondary fluid supply line in fluid communication with one of the chilled fluid output ports and a secondary fluid return line in fluid communication with one of the warm fluid input ports. Further, the system contains at least one cooling pad with a first end and a second end, an internal cavity that is segmented at the first end into a feed section and a return section, an inlet feed in fluid communication with the secondary fluid supply line located in the feed section and an outlet return in fluid communication with the secondary fluid return line located in the return section, where the cooling pad is configured to circulate chilled fluid from the feed section to the return section in a one-way flow arrangement. The chilled fluid in the system is circulated through the cooling pad and warmed fluid is returned to the chiller unit for re-chilling, such that the fluid moves in a continuous cycle.
The accompanying drawings which are incorporated in and constitute a part of this specification, illustrate one or more embodiments of the invention, and together with the description, serve to explain the principles of the invention.
A full and enabling disclosure of the present invention, including the best mode thereof directed to one of ordinary skill in the art, is set forth in the specification, which refers to the appended drawings, in which:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a human remains cooling system including a cooling pad that is connected to a cooling system in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;
FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a flow divider manifold in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;
FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view of a primary fluid line in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;
FIGS. 4A and 4B are cross-sectional views of a cooling pad placed over human remains in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention;
FIG. 5 is a top view of a cooling pad placed over human remains in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention; and
FIG. 6 is a cross-sectional perspective view of a section of the cooling pad shown in FIG. 5 in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention.
Repeat use of reference characters in the present specification and drawings is intended to represent same or analogous features or elements of the invention.
Reference will now be made in detail to various embodiments of the invention, one or more examples of which are illustrated in the accompanying drawings. Each example is provided by way of explanation, not limitation, of the invention. In fact, it will be apparent to those skilled in the art that modifications and variations can be made in the present invention without departing from the scope and spirit thereof. For instance, features illustrated or described as part of one embodiment may be used on another embodiment to yield a still further embodiment. Thus, it is intended that the present invention covers such modifications and variations as come within the scope of the appended claims and their equivalents.
FIGS. 1, 4A, 4B and 5 illustrate cooling pads 100 that may be adapted to a human remains cooling system 102 for cooling human remains in accordance with an embodiment of the present invention. Cooling pads 100 are provided with a chilled fluid from cooling system 102 that is circulated through cooling pads 100 and returned for re-chilling. Cooling pad 100 may help to maintain the temperature of human remains at about 30°-45° F. after death occurs for an indefinite period. Cooling pad 100 may be adapted to be in direct contact with either the top side or the bottom side of human remains. The system allows the remains to achieve preferred and predetermined constant ranges of cooling temperatures to be maintained.
In the embodiment illustrated in FIG. 1, cooling system 102 includes a chiller unit 104 having a fluid container 106 holding a chilled fluid supply for circulating fluid through cooling pads 100. A primary fluid line 108 divided into a primary fluid supply line 110 and a primary fluid return line 112 extends from chiller unit 104 for channeling the chilled fluid to cooling pads 100 and circulating warmed fluid back to chiller unit 104 for re-chilling.
Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, at least one flow divider manifold 114 is provided for channeling the chilled fluid through a plurality of cooling pads 100. Flow divider manifold 114 includes a chilled fluid input 116 connecting manifold 114 in fluid communication with primary fluid supply line 110. Chilled fluid input 116 is further in fluid communication with at least one chilled fluid output port 118 which is also in fluid communication with at least one secondary supply line 120 of a secondary fluid line 122 that provides chilled fluid to cooling pads 100. In some embodiments, chilled fluid input 116 may further be in fluid communication with chilled fluid manifold port 119 when more than one manifold 114 is utilized as shown in FIG. 1.
Flow divider manifold 114 also includes a warm fluid output 124 connecting manifold 114 in fluid communication with primary fluid return line 112. Warm fluid output 124 is also in fluid communication with warm fluid input ports 125 which are in further fluid communication with secondary return line 126 of secondary fluid line 122, for returning warmed fluid from cooling pads 100 for re-chilling. In some embodiments, warm fluid output 124 may also be in fluid communication with warmed fluid manifold port 127 when more than one manifold is utilized as shown in FIG. 1.
At least one cooling pad 100 is provided in direct fluid communication with secondary supply line 120 for receiving the chilled fluid from chiller unit 104. The cooling pad 100 is also connected in direct fluid communication with secondary return line 126 for returning warmed fluid to the chiller unit. Accordingly, cooling pad 100 may be adapted to a cooling system 102, such that chilled fluid may be circulated through cooling pad 100 and warmed fluid may be returned to chilling unit 104 for re-chilling. The recirculation of chilled fluids helps to maintain the temperature of cooling pad 100 and the human remains to which cooling pad 100 makes direct contact.
In order to maintain the temperatures of the fluids within the lines and to avoid any substantial damage to the lines, primary fluid line 108 may be constructed as shown in FIG. 3. Primary fluid line 108 includes primary supply line 110 and primary return line 112 which are surrounded by an insulation layer 128 that is covered by a wear resistant layer 130. Primary supply line 110 and primary return line 112 may be constructed, in some embodiments, of a polyvinyl chloride hose. Insulation layer 128 may be constructed of any material known in the art that will maintain the necessary temperature of the fluid in primary supply line 110. In some embodiments, insulation layer 128 may be made of a closed cell extruded foam, including polyisocyanurate or polyurethane. Wear resistant layer 130 may be made of any material known in the art for maintaining the integrity of the lines, for example an extruded PVC may be used as the wear resistant layer 130.
Primary fluid line 108 is also constructed such that primary supply line 110 and primary return line 112 are releaseably adhered and may be separated, so that the lines may properly enter different components of manifold 114 and chilling unit 104, while still maintaining the insulation layer 128 and the wear resistant layer 130. Although FIG. 3 makes reference to primary fluid line 108, secondary fluid line 122 may be constructed in the same or similar manner and house secondary supply line 120 and secondary return line 126 with an insulation layer and a wear resistant layer.
In an embodiment, chiller unit 104 includes a refrigeration circuit for cooling the fluid to a temperature of between about 30°-45° F. In some embodiments, the temperature of the cooling pad is maintained between about 32°-42° F. A chiller unit of the type manufactured by Advantage Engineering, Inc. 525 East Stop 18 Road, Greenwood, Ind. 46142, can serve to provide and circulate a chilled fluid supply through a plurality of cooling pads 100. In some embodiments, the chilled fluid may be a glycol and water solution or other similar fluid to prevent freezing to maintain circulation of the fluid through the various supply lines and manifolds. In a particular embodiment, the chilled fluid includes approximately 30% by volume of glycol to prevent freezing.
Referring to FIG. 1, a fluid pump 132 is included in chiller unit 104 which pressurizes the system and forces the fluid through the supply lines and into cooling pads 100, and circulates that fluid back to chiller unit 104 for re-chilling. In some embodiments, pump 132 includes a stepping motor for adapting to changes in fluid level as cooling bags 100 are added or removed from manifold 114. In some embodiments, the system may be designed to hold sufficient fluid to support 28 cooling pads 100 with a 25 gallon fluid container 106 in chiller unit 104. Chiller unit 104 may connect to ground-based power, but due to the limited power demands of the system, may be run on portable power generator units or batteries in remote locations. In further embodiments, chiller unit 104 may include a temperature sensor and pressure display 134 operatively associated with the chilled fluid for monitoring the temperature of the fluid as it leaves the chiller unit for circulation through cooling pads 100, as well as the pressure of the fluid in the lines.
In a further embodiment, chiller unit 104 may be adapted to include an outlet pressure reducing valve 136 in fluid communication with primary fluid supply line 110 for creating a low flow pressure of the chilled fluid through the system 102. In some embodiments, the low flow pressure of the chilled fluid through primary fluid supply line 110 may be approximately 10 psi. In a further embodiment, primary fluid supply line 110 and primary fluid return line 112 may be approximately 1 inch in diameter for maintaining flow volume and pressure to flow divider manifold 114 under the low flow pressure condition of the system. Further, in some embodiments, secondary supply and return lines 120 and 126 may be approximately ⅜ inch in diameter for maintaining pressure and flow volume to circulate the fluid through cooling pad 100.
Chiller unit 104 may be constructed to allow for connection and disconnection of cooling pad 100 without having to shutdown the system 102. In some embodiments, secondary fluid supply line 120 and secondary fluid return line 126 are connected to flow divider manifold 114 using a quick connect coupling so that the supply and return lines may be connected and disconnected without turning off chiller unit 104 or having to use tools to complete the connections.
Referring to FIG. 2, quick connect couplings 138 are shown on secondary supply line 120 and secondary return line 126 for connecting with the complementary ports of manifold 114. Quick connect couplings 138 include an internal lock, that when quick connect couplings 138 are properly situated over and pressed down on the complementary ports, couplings 138 are locked into fluid communication with either chilled fluid input 116 or warm fluid output 118. Quick connect couplings 138 may be removed by actuating release 142, and removing coupling 138 from the complementary port. When quick connect couplings 138 are removed from a complementary port, a check valve (not shown) in the quick connect coupling 138 is closed to prevent fluid from leaking out of either secondary supply line 120 or secondary return line 126. Although the invention is described using the particular quick connect coupling described above, those of ordinary skill in the art will recognize that other quick connect couplings, which produce the same or similar results, may be used in additional embodiments.
As shown in FIG. 1, a plurality of flow divider manifolds 114 may be arranged in order to scale the system to the number of cooling pads 100 required by the user. Each manifold 114 is connected such that each chilled fluid input 116 of each manifold 114 is in fluid communication with primary fluid supply line 110 and each warm fluid output 124 is in fluid communication with primary return line 112. In some embodiments, as shown in FIG. 2, lines are connected to manifolds 114 by being placed over ports of manifold 114 and held in place with the use of a hose clamp 146. In other embodiments, the connections between the lines and manifolds are accomplished using common quick connect couplings as described above.
Referring to FIGS. 4A and 4B, cooling pad 20 is connected in fluid communication with secondary fluid line 122 which is divided into secondary supply line 120 and secondary return line 126 as it reaches cooling pad 100. As the chilled fluid enters cooling pad 100 through secondary supply line 120, the chilled fluid is circulated through cooling pad 100 and back to chiller unit 104 through secondary return line 126 so that the human remains 148 are maintained at a desired temperature through direct cooling. In some embodiments, cooling pad 100 may be equipped with additional coatings. For example, in one embodiment, cooling pad 100 may be coated with a layer of charcoal so as to absorb odors emitted from the human remains 148 placed underneath or on top of cooling pad 100.
Referring to FIGS. 5 and 6, in an embodiment of the present invention, cooling pad 100 includes a flow director 150 segmenting an interior fluid cavity 152 in cooling pad 100 into a feed section 154 and a return section 156 so that chilled fluid is circulated first through feed section 154 and then into return section 156 in a consecutive one-way flow arrangement. An opening at distal end 158 of cooling pad 100 is provided in flow director 150 so that fluid can pass from feed section 154 into return section 156. As shown in FIG. 6, flow director 150 may be formed by heat welding a top side 160 of cooling pad 100 to a bottom side 162 so that fluid cannot pass through flow director 150.
In a further embodiment, interior fluid cavity 152 of cooling pad 100 may include a plurality of fluid dispersion cells 164 for directing chilled fluid throughout feed section 154 and return section 156. Fluid dispersion cells 164 may be formed by heat welding, as indicated by reference number 166, top side 160 and bottom side 162 of cooling pad 100 in a staggered arrangement.
Cooling pad 100 may be utilized alone to maintain a desired temperature of human remains. As shown in the figures, cooling pad 100 may be placed on top of human remains to provide proper cooling, but cooling pad 100 may also be utilized underneath human remains. For example, human remains may be placed on top of cooling pad 100 to allow the user to examine the remains but to still have the remains maintain a targeted temperature.
In other embodiments, cooling pad 100 may be utilized in connection with at least one additional item. For example, in some embodiments, cooling pad 100 may be used with cotton, linen or plastic sheeting, a body bag, a cardboard box, or a table shroud. These items may be used adjacent cooling pad 100, outside the fluid cavity 152. Each item may help to further ensure that human remains maintain the desired temperature.
Although cooling pad 100 may be used with the items listed above, it need not be specifically integrated with these items in order to use both together. For example, a body bag would not have to first be integrated with a cooling pad 100 before it could be used in connection with cooling pad 100. Instead, cooling pad 100 may be placed in any body bag, regardless of manufacturer or size, to provide the bag with the desired cooling properties as described above.
These and other modifications and variations to the present invention may be practiced by those of ordinary skill in the art, without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention, which is more particularly set forth in the appended claims. In addition, it should be understood that aspects of the various embodiments may be interchanged both in whole and in part. Furthermore, those of ordinary skill in the art will appreciate that the foregoing description is by way of example only, and is not intended to limit the invention so further described in such appended claims. Therefore, the spirit and scope of the appended claims should not be limited to the description of the preferred versions contained therein.