Title:
Collapsible container for receiving waste body fluids
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A collapsible container for receiving waste body fluids comprising a flexible pouch, a rigid collar, and a collapsible reservoir integral with the rigid collar. The flexible pouch has a funnel-shaped mouth area for conforming to the face of the user. A stopper is sized to seal the funnel-shaped mouth area. The rigid collar comprises a first end adjacent the mouth area and a second end adjacent the collapsible reservoir. The second end forms a circumferential flange to flare the reservoir. The collapsible reservoir includes a top and a bottom, the top adjacent the circumferential flange of the collar. The bottom has an annular rim that can engage with the stopper so that the stopper forms a base for the container. A cage is within the flexible pouch, the cage comprising a neck area that is aligned within the rigid collar. A floater or stop cock within the cage rises as body fluid fills the cage to seal the neck area.



Inventors:
Parker, Elinor S. (Houston, TX, US)
Application Number:
09/764580
Publication Date:
07/18/2002
Filing Date:
01/18/2001
Assignee:
PARKER ELINOR S.
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
604/317, 604/355, 4/144.1
International Classes:
A61M1/00; (IPC1-7): A47K11/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:



Primary Examiner:
KIDWELL, MICHELE M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
DAMBROSIO & MENON, P.L.L.C. (SUGAR LAND, TX, US)
Claims:
1. A collapsible container for receiving waste body fluids comprising: a flexible pouch, the flexible pouch comprising a flared mouth area, a rigid collar, and a collapsible reservoir; a stopper sized to seal an opening of the mouth area; a cage within the flexible pouch, the cage comprising a neck area, the neck area aligned within the rigid collar.

2. The collapsible container for receiving waste body fluids of claim 1 wherein the cage within the flexible pouch further comprises, a flange area and two or more collapsible legs extending from the flange area to an annular base.

3. The collapsible container for receiving waste body fluids of claim 1 wherein the mouth area comprises an annular ridge for securing the stopper.

4. The collapsible container for receiving waste body fluids of claim 1 wherein the mouth area flares outward circumferentially from the rigid collar to adapt to the user's body.

5. The collapsible container for receiving waste body fluids of claim 1 wherein the rigid collar is integral with the collapsible reservoir.

6. The collapsible container for receiving waste body fluids of claim 1 wherein the rigid collar comprises a first end adjacent the mouth area and a second end adjacent the collapsible reservoir, the first end forming a first circumferential flange and the second end forming a second circumferential flange.

7. The collapsible container for receiving waste body fluids of claim 1 wherein the collapsible reservoir comprises a top and a bottom, the top adjacent the circumferential flange of the collar, the bottom comprising an annular rim.

8. The collapsible container for receiving waste body fluids of claim 6 wherein the annular rim comprises one or more protruding flanges for securing the stopper.

9. The collapsible container for receiving waste body fluids of claim 1 further comprising a floater positioned within the cage for sealing the neck area.

10. The collapsible container for receiving waste body fluids of claim 1 wherein the neck of the cage comprises an inverse cone shape.

11. The collapsible container for receiving waste body fluids of claim 10 wherein the floater comprises an upper section, a mid-section and a lower section, the upper section being conical in shape to align within the neck, the mid-section comprising a polygonal shape to align within the legs and the lower section being spherical in shape.

12. The collapsible container for receiving waste body fluids of claim 1 wherein the floater is manufactured from a material adapted to float in body fluids.

13. The collapsible container for receiving waste body fluids of claim 3 wherein the stopper comprises one or more tabs to interlock with the annular rim of the mouth area.

14. The collapsible container for receiving waste body fluids of claim 7 wherein the one or more tabs of the stopper interlock with the protruding flanges of the base so that the pouch can rest upon the stopper when the stopper is locked onto the base.

15. The collapsible container for receiving waste body fluids of claim 1 wherein the collapsible legs of the cage comprise jointed leg segments.

16. A collapsible container for receiving waste body fluids comprising: a flexible pouch, the flexible pouch comprising a funnel-shaped mouth area, a rigid collar, and a collapsible reservoir integral with the rigid collar; the rigid collar comprising a first end adjacent the mouth area and a second end adjacent the collapsible reservoir, the second end forming a circumferential flange. the collapsible reservoir comprising a top and a bottom, the top adjacent the circumferential flange of the collar, the bottom comprising an annular rim; a cage within the flexible pouch, the cage comprising a neck area, the neck area aligned within the rigid collar, a flange area and a mid-section; a stopper sized to seal the funnel-shaped mouth area.

17. The collapsible container for receiving waste body fluids of claim 16 wherein the flexible pouch is comprised of translucent plastic material.

18. The collapsible container for receiving waste body fluids of claim 16 wherein the flexible pouch is comprised of transparent plastic material.

19. The collapsible container for receiving waste body fluids of claim 16 wherein the collapsible reservoir is imprinted with liquid measurements.

20. The collapsible container for receiving waste body fluids of claim 16 further comprising a stop cock positioned within the cage for sealing the neck area.

21. The collapsible container for receiving waste body fluids of claim 16 wherein the mid-section of the cage comprises two or more collapsible legs extending from the flange area to an annular base.

22. The collapsible container for receiving waste body fluids of claim 21 wherein the floater comprises an upper section, a mid-section and a lower section, the upper section being conical in shape to align within the neck, the mid-section comprising a polygonal shape to align within the legs and the lower section being spherical in shape.

23. A collapsible container for receiving waste body fluids comprising: a flexible pouch, the flexible pouch comprising a flared mouth area, a rigid collar, and a collapsible reservoir; a cage within the flexible pouch, the cage comprising a neck area, the neck area aligned within the rigid collar, a flange area and two or more collapsible legs extending from the flange area to an annular base; a floater positioned within the cage for sealing the neck area; a stopper sized to seal an opening of the mouth area.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] This invention relates to a collapsible container for receiving waste body fluids. Particularly to a collapsible container that is sealable after receiving waste body fluids.

BACKGROUND OF INVENTION

[0002] Waste body fluids such as emesis (vomit), urine or other possibly semisolid wastes should be contained in a sealable container for sanitary considerations. A sealable container that is easily accessible is also advantageous. Bed patients may not be able to use regular bathroom facilities and require a portable container that is quickly available. Typically, hospitals use a kidney-shaped basis for collection of emesis. Sealable containers for the collection of wastes, such as a collapsible bag with an outside cap to prevent spillage of urine, are well known.

[0003] Van Den Burg, U.S. Pat. No. 5,894,607, discloses a collapsible urine collection device with a hinged cap. The collection bag is made of a flexible material. One of the patented embodiments comprises a rigid pipe neck for holding the device in place. Einbinder, in U.S. Pat. No. 5,406,650, discloses a collapsible urine receiver with an inlet through which the urine is collected, and an air outlet vent. Both the inlet and the air bent can be made of collapsible material. The '650 patent discloses that both of the openings can be closed by a sealing cap which can be attached by a keeper string or by a bayonet-like connection.

[0004] Various patents have disclosed types of support systems. Beckman, U.S. Pat. No. 3,568,218 discloses a foldable disposable urine container. The urine container is made of two sealed together sheets of highly flexible material. The container has an internal support attached to the inlet channel at an angle, and extending into the urine container. This internal support is made of material more rigid than the urine container. The internal support can be either detached or attached to the container, or it can be made of the same material as the container and inflated for support.

[0005] Gailleteau, U.S. Pat. No. 5,946,738, discloses a pouch for receiving liquid waste such as emesis and urine. The pouch is equipped with an internal reinforcement element, namely a relatively rigid and flexible sleeve with a cut-out on each side. In the flattened configuration of the pouch the sleeve itself is flattened and presents two wall elements disposed one against the other, while, in order to bring the collar into its tubular configuration and open the opening, the sleeve is deformed to adapt a so-called “open” configuration.

[0006] Thomas, U.S. Pat. No. 6,070,277, discloses a reusable foldable waste receptacle bag for receiving urine, fecal matter, and vomit for later disposal The invention disclosed is a bag like device containing two layers of gelling absorbents which harden when exposed to urine and/or feces. The top of the collection bag is an important part in allowing the bag to perform properly and not leak. Ericson, U.S. Pat. No. 3,781,922, and Atkins, U.S. Pat. No. 3,742,523, both disclose funnel urine collection devices. Ericson '922 discloses a collapsible funnel with a rigid rim top adapted for a sealed cover, and a sample container that attaches at the funnel bottom opening. Atkins '523 discloses a disposable urinal with a rigid funnel and a flexible bag. The funnel extends into the receiver bag, and has a bulbous end with radial dimension sufficient to elevate the discharge opening so that no reentry of urine back into the funnel occurs.

[0007] Other patents have dealt with collection bags for bodily waste materials. Jenson, U.S. Pat. No. 5,592,699, discloses a mouthpiece for a urinal for a bedridden patients. Nilsson, U.S. Pat. No. 4,753,642, discloses a valve assembly for a urine-collecting container.

[0008] What is needed is a collapsible container that can be easily held in position by the user when needed for emesis or urine. A collapsible container that is sealable after use is also advantageous.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0009] The present invention provides a collapsible and sealable container for receiving waste body fluids, vomit, for example. Because the container is collapsible, it can be easily stored until needed. Preferably the container can be sealed with a stopper to prevent spillage and has sufficient rigidity to rest on a surface in an upright position. A stop cock or floater within the container reduces reflux or overflow of the waste fluid by closing off the container as it becomes filled. The collapsible container comprises a rigid neck area to allow the user to hold the container in position. For use as a vomit bag, the collapsible container preferably comprises a wide mouth area that is flexible to adapt to or fit comfortably on the face of the user. In one preferred embodiment, the collapsible container comprises a flexible pouch having a mouth, a rigid collar, and a collapsible reservoir. Preferably, a cage is positioned within the collapsible reservoir. The cage can comprise a neck area aligned within the rigid collar, a flange area and two or more collapsible legs extending from the flange area to an annular base so that the collapsible container can expand when the legs are extended thereby expanding the receiving area of the reservoir. In a preferred embodiment, the reservoir further comprises a conical or spherical floater positioned within the cage for sealing the neck area. As the reservoir is being filled with liquid, the floater rises to the neck of the cage guided by the legs of the cage. The floater is sized to seal the neck thereby reducing spillage of the liquid body waste. Preferably a stopper is sized to seal the mouth of the container to further reduce the possibility of spillage.

[0010] In another preferred embodiment of the collapsible container for receiving waste body fluids, the container comprises a flexible pouch, the flexible pouch comprising a funnel-shaped mouth, a rigid collar, and a collapsible reservoir integral with the rigid collar. The rigid collar can comprise a first end adjacent the mouth and a second end adjacent the collapsible reservoir, the second end forms a circumferential flange. The collapsible reservoir can comprise a top and a bottom, the top adjacent the circumferential flange of the collar, the bottom comprising an annular rim. Preferably, a cage is located within the flexible pouch to contain and guide the floater as liquid rises within the reservoir. The cage can comprise a neck area that is aligned within the rigid collar, a flange area and a mid-section. A stopper can be sized to seal the funnel-shaped mouth, the stopper comprising stopper tabs adapted to interlock with the mouth. In one preferred embodiment, the stopper can be inverted and locked into an annular rim on the bottom of the flexible pouch to provide a support base for the collapsible container.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0011] FIG. 1 depicts a frontal view, partially in section, of one embodiment of the present invention.

[0012] FIG. 1a is a cross-sectional view of the stopper.

[0013] FIG. 2 depicts a frontal view, partially in section, of another aspect of the present invention.

[0014] FIG. 2a is a cross sectional view of the bottom of the collapsible container.

[0015] FIG. 3 illustrates the present invention in a collapsed position.

[0016] FIG. 4 depicts a prospective view of the collapsed container showing a partial section view.

[0017] FIG. 5 depicts a frontal view of another embodiment of the present invention.

[0018] It is noted that the drawings illustrate only some typical embodiments of the invention and are therefore not to be considered limiting of its scope, for the invention will admit to other equally effective embodiments.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

[0019] The present invention provides a container that is both collapsible and sealable for receiving waste body fluids, vomit, for example. Because the container is collapsible, it can be easily stored until needed. Although collapsible, the preferred container comprises a rigid cage to provide an internal framework for the container. The collapsible container comprises a rigid collar so that the user can hold the container in position while emitting. Preferably the container can be sealed with a stopper to prevent spillage and, because of its rigid collar, has sufficient rigidity to rest on a surface in an upright position. A stopcock or floater within the cage is guided by the framework of the cage as the liquid rises within the reservoir. The lighter-than-liquid floater floats into the neck area and closes off the neck when the reservoir area of the collapsible container becomes full thereby avoiding overflow of body wastes. For use as a vomit bag, the collapsible container preferably comprises a wide mouth area that is flexible to adapt or fit comfortably on the face of the user.

[0020] Although the collapsible container for receiving body waste fluids can be used for many types of waste fluids, the detailed description of the present invention will focus on a container useful for receiving vomit. Referring to FIGS. 1 and 2, the collapsible container 10 comprises a flexible pouch 20 having a widened mouth area 22, a rigid collar 30, and a collapsible reservoir 40. A cage 60 is positioned within the flexible pouch 20 to provide a framework and guide a floater 70 which acts as a stop cock to close off the reservoir 40. Preferably a stopper 80 is sized to seal the opening 22a formed by the mouth area 22 of the container. The mouth area 22 flares outward circumferentially from the rigid collar 30 to adapt to a user's face. Preferably, the mouth area 22 comprises a flexible, semi-rigid material that is funnel-shaped to fit comfortably about the face of the user.

[0021] The collapsible container 10 can be manufactured from a sturdy plastic material that is pliable so that the container 10 can retain the characteristic of being collapsible. The plastic material can be a polymer that is both chemically and thermally stable to allow for sterilization of the container 10. Alternatively, an inexpensive plastic can be used so that the collapsible container 10 is disposable. Preferably, the flexible pouch 20 is comprised of a translucent or a transparent plastic material so that the volume of the liquid within the container 10 is visible. As illustrated by FIG. 5, liquid measurements can be imprinted on the pouch 20. In one preferred embodiment, the plastic material can be reinforced in certain areas to provide rigidity when necessary, the area comprising the collar 30, for example. The rigid collar 30 is provided to allow the user to securely hold onto the collapsible container 10. To this end, the rigid collar 30 extends from the mouth area 22 to the collapsible reservoir 40 and is long enough to allow the user to grasp it with one hand. The rigid collar 30 comprises a first end 32 adjacent the mouth area 22 and a second end 34 adjacent the collapsible reservoir 40. The first end 32 forms a first circumferential flange 32 extending outwardly about the funnel-shaped mouth area 22. The second end 34 forms a second circumferential flange 34 extending outwardly and preferably bent to form an extension ledge 36. The outwardly extending second end 34 and ledge 36 help with the expansion of the reservoir 40 by forming a flare configuration at the top 41 of the collapsible reservoir 40. In one embodiment, the rigid collar 30, the mouth area 22 and the collapsible reservoir 40 are integral so that the flexible pouch 20 is one unit. The pouch 20 can be manufactured with material having varying degrees of rigidity to accommodate the required characteristics of each structure. Alternatively, the rigid collar 30 can comprise a separate structure that is fixidly attached to the mouth area 22 on first end 32 and fixedly attached to the collapsible reservoir 40 at the second end 34.

[0022] The collapsible reservoir 40 comprises a top 41 and a bottom 43, the top 43 is adjacent the circumferential flange 34 of the collar 30, and the bottom 43 comprises an annular rim 45. Preferably the collapsible reservoir 40 is widest at the middle 44 to provide a greater capacity for containing the body waste fluids. The collapsible reservoir is made of pliant material to allow the pouch 20 to collapse when not in use as illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 4.

[0023] In one preferred embodiment, the collapsible container 10 comprises a cage 60 within the reservoir 40. The cage 60 is collapsible but formed from a rigid material to provide an internal framework for the collapsible pouch 20. This framework can provide some rigidity to the pouch 20 when held by the user. The cage 60 within the flexible pouch 20 preferably comprises a neck area 62 that is aligned within the rigid collar 30. The cage further comprises a flange area 64 and two or more collapsible legs 66 extending from the flange area 64 to an annular base 63. Preferably, the cage comprises six legs 66 to form the framework. The collapsibility of the legs 66 in one preferred embodiment is provided by a joint 67 in the legs 66. The collapsible legs 66 comprise jointed leg segments 66a, 66b that fold on each other.

[0024] Referring to FIGS. 1, 2 and 4, a floating stop cock 70 or floater 70 is positioned within the cage 60. The floater 70 is adapted to rise as the body liquids fill the reservoir 40. Preferably, the floater 70 is formed from materials that are lighter or less dense than body liquids and impervious to corrosion by the liquids, Styrofoam™ plastic, for example. As seen in FIGS. 1 and 2, the floater 70 rises as the liquid body waste fills the reservoir 40 and, guided by the frame work of the cage 60, seals the reservoir 40 at the neck area 62 to reduce overflow of the liquids. To effect the sealing off of the pouch 20 by the floater 70, the floater 70 comprises an upper section 71, a mid-section 72 and a lower section 74. In one embodiment, the neck 62 of the cage 60 comprises an inverse cone shape. The upper section 71 of the floater 70 is preferably conical in shape to align within the neck 62 to effect sealing of the neck area 62. The mid-section 72 preferably comprises a polygonal shape to align within the legs 66 and the lower section 74 is preferably spherical in shape for stability.

[0025] Alternatively, the cage can comprise a mesh bag (not shown) to confine and guide the floater 70 as it moves upward in the liquids. In another preferred embodiment, (not shown), the floater can comprise a conical or spherical shape that mirrors the conical shape of the neck so that sealing of the area can be effected.

[0026] To tightly seal the collapsible container 10 after use, a stopper, FIG. 4, 80, sized to seal the opening 22a of the mouth area 22 is provided. Referring to FIGS. 1 and 1a, in one embodiment, the mouth area 22 comprises and annular ridge for mating with tabs 81 on the stopper 80. Alternatively, the stopper 80 and mouth area 22 are threaded so that the stopper 80 can be screwed into the mouth area 22. Other methods of securing the mouth 22 of the container 10 with the stopper 80 are known in the art and within the scope of this invention.

[0027] In another preferred embodiment as illustrated by FIGS. 1 and 2, the stopper 80 can be used as a base support for the collapsible container 10. To this effect, the collapsible reservoir 40 further comprises an annular rim 45 at its bottom 43. As seen in FIG. 2a, the annular rim 45 can comprise one or more protruding flanges 46 for securing the stopper 80. When the stopper 80 is secured to the bottom 43 of the collapsible container 10, the stopper acts as a base to support the container 10. The tabs of the stopper 80 interlock with the protruding flanges 46 of the annular rim 45 so that the pouch 10 can rest upon the stopper 80.

[0028] The foregoing description is illustrative and explanatory of preferred embodiments of the invention and variations in the size, shape, materials and other details will become apparent to those skilled in the art. It is intended that all such variations and modifications which fall within the scope and spirit of the appended claims be embraced thereby.