Title:
Examination table with variable tilt
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
In at least one embodiment, the invention includes an examination table for supporting a patient to allow the patient to undergo examination, comprising: a platform having a first side and a second side, a first leaf hinged to the first side, a second leaf hinged to the second side, and an elevation device residing underneath the platform, wherein the elevation device is adapted to cause the platform to incline toward a first direction or a second direction, thereby activating the first or second hinged leaf depending upon to which of the first and second directions the platform is elevated. In at least one embodiment, the hinged leaves are extendable and extend when the opposite side of the platform is inclined.



Inventors:
Yeager, Arthur (Columbia, SC, US)
Application Number:
11/296716
Publication Date:
01/18/2007
Filing Date:
12/05/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47B71/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20090271924Attract-Molded BedNovember, 2009Leng
20080010753Mattress With Independent and Detachable PartsJanuary, 2008Hernandez Maestre
20090089930Bed with Adjustable Patient Support FrameworkApril, 2009Benzo et al.
20070220678Support pillows and pillow cases thereforSeptember, 2007Ciliento
20090300842Ventilated mattress coverDecember, 2009Gendron
20100024122Fold Down Loft Bed With Modular FurnitureFebruary, 2010Sanders Jr.
20070094800Leg Support for Relieving Back PainMay, 2007Hensley
20060195987Motorized cot for use with emergency vehiclesSeptember, 2006Walkingshaw
20050278852High air flow foam bedding productsDecember, 2005Wahrmund et al.
20090205137Method of enhancing sleep accomodations for a guestAugust, 2009Escalante
20090276960Adjustable Pillow DeviceNovember, 2009Chou



Primary Examiner:
LIU, JONATHAN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Cahn & Samuels, LLP (Washington, DC, US)
Claims:
We claim:

1. An examination table for supporting a patient to allow the patient to undergo examination, comprising: a platform having a first side and a second side; a first leaf hinged to said first side; a second leaf hinged to said second side; and an elevation device residing underneath said platform; wherein said elevation device is adapted to cause said platform to incline toward a first direction or a second direction, thereby activating said first or second hinged leaf depending upon to which of said first and second directions said platform is elevated.

2. The examination table of claim 1, wherein said leaves are composed of a synthetic, flexible polymer.

3. The examination table of claim 1, wherein said elevation device includes an electrical motor.

4. The examination table of claim 3, wherein said elevation device further includes a worm screw lever.

5. A sonography table for supporting a patient to allow the patient to undergo sonography, comprising: a platform having a first side and a second side; a first extendable leaf hinged to said first side; a second extendable leaf hinged to said second side; and an elevation device adapted to raise said platform; wherein said elevation device is adapted to cause said platform to incline toward a first direction or a second direction, thereby allowing one of said leaves to extend and thereby activating said first or second hinged leaf depending upon to which of said first and second directions said platform is elevated.

6. The sonography table of claim 5, wherein said extendable leaves are composed of a flexible polymer.

7. The sonography table of claim 5, wherein each of said extendable leaves includes a pulley system adapted to allow said leaves to extend during inclination of said platform.

Description:

This application claims the benefit of priority under 35 U.S.C. § 119(e) to U.S. provisional application No. 60/633,437, filed Dec. 7, 2004, which is hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.

I. FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to apparatuses and methods for positioning subjects while conducting examinations. More particularly, the present invention relates to a table adapted for ergonomically positioning patients while performing examinations, such as sonograms.

II. BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Examination tables are known in the art. However, as will be appreciated, while some examination apparatuses, such as a dental chair, allow patients to be positioned from a seated position, to an inclined position, to a supine position, in order to allow the dental profession to easily access the patient's mouth depending on the examination or procedure being performed, these apparatuses suffer from the drawback that they are not only expensive but also the fact that they do not provide for repositioning to access the left or right of the patient. The inability of prior art examination tables to allow for ergonomic repositioning of patient's is particularly acute with medical examination tables.

In many instances, medical examination tables remain constant while the examination equipment in various areas of the hospital differs. Typically, these tables do not provide for any movement beyond perhaps allowing patients to be moved from the supine position to a reclined position. The inability of examination tables to provide for positioning of patients is particularly acute in sonography. While obstetrician-gynecological tables may allow for a patient to be placed in the supine position or reclined, the tables do not allow for access of the left or right of the patient absent movement by the sonographer. Studies have shown that a significant number of sonographers experience pain while performing sonography on a patient. Further, some of the sonographers eventually experience a career-ending injury. The increasing loss of sonographers due to work-related musculoskeletal disorders exacerbates the existing shortage of sonographers in the workplace. As sonography can be a vital healthcare service to patients such as pregnant women, it is important to minimize sonographers' exposure to the type of health disorders referenced above.

One of the more common types of injury to a sonographer is injury to the upper extremities and to the back. Such a type of injury is often caused by the position of the sonographer in relation to the patient. For instance, in a situation where the sonographer is performing ultra sound imaging on a female patient who is pregnant, the sonographer is typically sitting on an examination stool or chair while the patient is lying on an obstetrician/gynecology examination table. In some instances, the sonographer needs to position the ultra sound processing head on the patient's left abdominal side, for example, to achieve a particular image. As the imaging may begin with the patient in the supine position, the patient will need to transition to her right side for the sonographer to access her left side. Such a transition can be precarious for bariatric patients or any patient not accustomed to a new center of gravity such as a pregnant female. Moreover, the patient is sometimes suffering from a pregnancy-related illness such as “morning sickness” and is prone to nausea and vomiting. Thus, the sonographer attempts to minimize disturbance of the patient. In doing so, however, the sonographer often places himself or herself at risk for the type of work-related injuries referenced above by reaching over or across the patient to access a particular side of the patient. This can place stress on the sonographer's back and other areas such as his or her shoulders.

In some instances, in an attempt to minimize his or her risk to injury, the sonographer sometimes places a pillow, for example, underneath the patient's back to tilt the patient such that the side of the patient to which the sonographer requires access is tilted more toward the sonographer. For example, if the patient is lying in the supine position and the sonographer needs to access the patient's left side, the sonographer places the pillow underneath the back of the patient such that the patient's left side is rolled or tilted upward toward the sonographer. Although such a solution can reduce stress on the sonographer's upper extremities, it often requires the sonographer to disturb the patient. For example, the sonographer must often disturb the patient several times due to exchanging one pillow with another or placing an additional pillow underneath the patient. Moreover, sonographers are often not willing to take the time required to adjust the pillows. As a result, in some instances, the sonographers simply do not attempt to use a pillow and resort to reaching around the patient to access the desired side, thereby exposing the sonographer to the risk referenced above.

The foregoing underscores some of the problems associated with conventional examination tables. Furthermore, the foregoing highlights the need in the art for an examination table for ergonomic positioning of patients. Accordingly, there exists a long-felt, yet unresolved need for an examination table capable of tilting a subject to provide ergonomic access to remote areas of the subject. More particularly, there exists a need in the art for a sonography table that is capable of tilting to allow a patient to lie such that his or her body is horizontally inclined, such that, for example, the patient's left side is elevated and exposed to a sonographer positioned on the patient's right side.

III. SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention overcomes the aforementioned drawbacks in the art and offers new advantages as well. Accordingly, it is an object of the invention to provide an examination table for ergonomic positioning of patients. It is another object of the invention to provide an examination table capable of tilting a patient in a horizontal direction to provide ergonomic access to an area of the patient's body. It is another object of the invention to provide a sonographer's table that tilts to provide access to the remote side of a patient's body during examination.

In accordance with these objects of the invention, there is provided an examination table configured to be tilt table to allow horizontal inclination of a patient, thereby allowing an examiner ergonomic access to an elevated side of the subject. As the elevated side of the patient is more easily accessible to the examiner, the examiner's risk to work-related injuries caused by having to reach around a subject, such as a patient in a supine position, is minimized.

According to the invention, a presently preferred embodiment includes an examination table for supporting a patient to allow the patient to undergo examination, comprising: a platform having a first side and a second side, a first leaf hinged to the first side, a second leaf hinged to the second side, and an elevation device adapted to raise the platform, wherein the elevation device is adapted to cause the platform to incline toward a first direction or a second direction, thereby activating the first or second hinged leaf depending upon which of the first and second directions the platform is elevated.

According to one advantageous aspect of the invention, in one embodiment, the hinged leaves comprise two-way hinges. According to this feature of the invention, the leaves are gravitationally positioned pointing downward perpendicular to the floor when the platform is lying flat. This configuration allows the leaves to be positioned out of the way when not in use. When the platform is inclined to the left or right, the two-way hinges allow the leaf opposite the inclining side to actuate to form a lying surface for the side of the patient to retain the patient when tilted. As will be appreciated, the more the platform is inclined, the less the angle between the platform and the leaf. However, the leaf is kept predominantly parallel to the floor throughout the inclination process to ensure the patient is supported at all times.

In a preferred embodiment, the table includes an undersurface that actuates and provides support of the hinged leaf of the platform to ensure it can support the weight of a patient. According to this embodiment, the raising of a first side of the platform is cooperatively associated with a movement of the platform towards the inclining side. This cooperative movement causes the second side of the platform to retract towards the center of the examination table thereby actuating the hinge of the second side leaf by contact with the undersurface. The leaf is then supported by the undersurface to ensure support for the patient. As will be appreciated, the more the first side of the platform is inclined, the more the second side moves towards the center or that side of the table, and the less the angle between the platform and the second leaf (or the greater the angle of inclination of the patient). Preferably, the leaf of the second side is held substantially parallel to the floor by the undersurface throughout the tilting process.

In at least one embodiment, the hinged leaves are extendable and extend when the opposite side of the platform is inclined.

According to an alternative embodiment, instead of using an undersurface, the leaves of the platform are configured to be moved and locked into position relative the inclination of the platform via electromechanical elements.

According to another aspect of the invention, in one embodiment, the platform includes one-way hinges for securing the leaves. In accordance with this feature of the invention, the leaves are configured to allow the leaves to lock planar to the platform and parallel to the floor. Rather than require movement of the platform in a lateral direction to actuate a two-way hinge, this configuration allows the platform and its leaves to rest on an undersurface when the table is in the supine position. As one side is raised, the hinge keeps the leaf of that side open while the other leaf bends in on its hinge to provide a lying surface that remains substantially parallel to the floor. Again, as the angle of inclination increase, the angle between the opposite leaf and platform decreases. However, when one side of the platform is elevated, the geometry of this configuration allows the opposite side leaf to remain parallel to the floor and support the patient throughout the inclination process. Again, this disposition of hinges obviates the need to move the platform laterally into contact with an undersurface.

Any suitable means of inclining the platform may be used in accordance with the invention. For example, motors, hydraulic lifts and the like may be used. Manual actuation and positioning is also possible, but not preferred. While the exact mode of tilting the table is not critical to the invention, presently preferred modes seek to optimize the ease and inexpensive of the invention.

In accordance with a preferred embodiment of the invention, to incline the platform a worm screw lever and elevation rod are provided. Also in a preferred embodiment using this mode of tilting, the platform uses one-way hinged leaves. Given this disposition of the hinges, a worm screw lever and elevation rod allow for selective inclination of either side of the platform in a relatively easy and inexpensive manner. Preferably, the platform includes a track or belt cooperatively associated with the platform and the worm screw lever and elevation rod. According to this embodiment, as the platform is inclined by the lever, the track or belt cooperatively moves inwardly towards the inclining side. This configuration provides preferable support area for the patient during tilting process and maintains the relative inexpensive of the table and its ease of operation. Preferably, the cooperative lever and track movement are motorized and operable by controls accessible by a user, whether the controls comprise buttons, touch screens, levers, foot pedals or other controls.

According to one object of the invention, there is provided a novel sonographer's table. Various embodiments of the sonographer's table may incorporate some or all of the novel features of the examination tables discussed above.

According to one advantageous aspect of the sonographer's table according to the invention, the table is configured to allow a patient's remote side to be tilted towards the sonographer to allow ergonomic access to the remote side of the patient. While the use of a hinged leaf as described above is contemplated by the invention, in a presently preferred embodiment, the table includes fixed right and left sides (or “leaves”) and relies upon a movable and inclinable central platform portion. In an alternative embodiment, a fixed table frame with a movable platform is used.

Preferably, the table is configured to allow the platform to incline to tilt a patient in the direction of a seated sonographer. Alternatively, the table could be configured to allow the platform to be titled from the right or left side towards the center of the table.

In a preferred embodiment, the table platform is configured to move towards the inclining side to provide more horizontal table space to prevent a patient from rolling off the table. In other words, as the table platform inclines the platform moves in the inclining direction to reveal a supporting surface. In one embodiment, the supporting surface is spooled out cooperatively as the table platform is moved. In an alternative embodiment, the entire table lying surface moves in cooperative movement with a belt or linked spool associated with a table undersurface for supporting the patient during tilting.

While the table can be configured with tracks or rollers that allow for manual positioning of the table, it is preferred to provide for motorized or otherwise automatic positioning of the patient by the actuation of controls. Assisted positioning is beneficial in seeking to prevent sonographer's and the like from suffering work related injuries of the type previously described herein.

Another advantageous feature of the invention is the provision of a concave construction to cradle a patient to hinder potential rolls off the table. A further advantageous feature is the provision of a handgrip to allow a patient to hold herself from over-titling of roll-off.

Another advantageous feature of the invention is the provision of a monitor to allow a patient to view her sonogram. In a preferred embodiment, the monitor is movable and removable.

Given the following enabling description of the drawings, the apparatus should become evident to a person of ordinary skill in the art.

IV. BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention is described with reference to the accompanying drawings. In the drawings, like reference numerals indicate identical or functionally similar elements.

FIGS. 1A-1C depict an embodiment of an examination table in a supine position according to the invention.

FIGS. 2A-2B depict the examination table of FIGS. 1A-1C in a right tilt position according to the invention.

FIGS. 3A-3C depict an alternative embodiment of an examination table in a left tilt position according to the invention.

FIG. 4 depicts another embodiment of an examination table in a seated position according to the invention.

FIGS. 5-9 depict an embodiment of a sonographer's table according the invention in various stages of tilting.

FIGS. 10A-C depicts an alternative embodiment of a sonographer's table according to the invention in various stages of tilting.

FIG. 11A depicts another alternative embodiment of a sonographer's table and supporting cabinet in a tilt position.

FIG. 11B is a close up of a presently preferred handgrip for use with a sonographer's table according to an embodiment of the invention.

V. DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The present invention is based, in part, on the discovery that providing an examination table configured for ergonomic movement of a patient relative a care giver as opposed to requiring a care giver to move relative a static patient is advantageous for the well being of the care giver in many situations. The present invention is also based, in part, on the discovery that providing an examination table adapted to provide for horizontal positioning of an area of a patient relative a caregiver is advantageous for the well being of the caregiver and patient in many situations. While the present invention will be described in connection with a Ob/Gyn or sonographer's table, one of ordinary skill in the art armed with the present specification will appreciate the inexpensive and universal application of the invention to a variety of fields and uses wherein the ergonomic placement of a subject is advantageous.

In general, according to an embodiment of the invention, there is provided an examination table that can be tilted in a first direction or a second direction to allow horizontal inclination of a patient's body, thereby allowing an examiner to access a side of the subject that would be challenging or difficult to access without the invention. Allowing the subject to be more accessible to the examiner can minimize the examiner's risk of work-related injuries caused by, for example, having to reach to a remote side of the subject.

Referring now to FIG. 1A, patient 105 is shown lying in a supine position on examination table 110. For reference, other than FIG. 5, it should be noted that in all Figures herein, the directional perspective is determined with the top of the patient's head facing the viewer of the particular figure. For example, in FIG. 1A, a top of the patient's head 252 faces the viewer of the Figure. Thus, the viewer's right and left hand sides correspond with the right and left sides of the patient.

As shown in FIGS. 1A-C and 2A-2B, the examination table 110 includes a platform 112 having a first side 113 and a second side 114, a first leaf 116 hinged to the first side 113 of the platform 112, a second leaf 118 hinged to the second side 114 of the platform 112, and an elevation device residing underneath the platform (shown in FIG. 2A). The elevation device causes the platform 112 to incline toward a first direction or a second direction, as will be described in more detail herein below.

While hinges 125 may be one-way or two-way hinges depending on the specific embodiment and features desired. In the embodiment of FIGS. 1 and 2, each leaf is preferably hinged to its respective side of the platform 112 such that the hinge 125 limits movement of each leaf from angles of 00 to 1800. This is referred to herein as a “one-way” hinge, wherein the hinge only allows the leaf to move from the flat plan of the platform in a single direction.

The platform 112 may be manufactured of metal, steel, durable polymer, or any other material suitable for examination tables as described herein. Preferably, as shown in FIG. 1B, the platform includes a padded surface 101 coupled to the platform in a manner that does not restrict movement of the table elements as described herein. The leaves 116, 118 may also be manufactured of any material suitable for use in the present invention. In one embodiment, the leaves 116, 118 are manufactured of flexible, synthetic polymer.

Referring now to FIG. 2A, in at least one embodiment, the elevation device 205 includes a worm screw lever 207 and an elevation rod 209. Preferably, the worm screw lever 207 and elevation rod 209 are operated by an electrical motor (not shown) or the like that also cooperatively moves a belt or track 290 overlaying a supporting surface for supporting and positioning the patient during tilting operations as discussed in more detail below.

The elevation device 205 is adapted to move the platform in a manner so as to tilt a patient on the platform into a position wherein a remote side of the patient is accessible to an examiner, such as a sonographer. As depicted in the Figures, the elevation device 205 raises or tilts the platform 112 in a first position, for example, so that the patient's left side 225 can be examined by a sonographer positioned at station 210, while the patient's right side lay comfortable and securely on the second leaf 118.

In a preferred embodiment, the elevation device 205 is activated by an operator depressing a button or lever. Upon activation of the elevation device 205, the platform 112 selectively tilts towards the center of the table by raising either the right side or left side of the platform. While not necessary for the invention, preferably, the operator may control the overall tilt of the platform 112 to allow the patient to be positioned in any number of angles of inclination for ease of accessibility by the operator.

As depicted in FIGS. 2A-2B, inclination of the platform 112 on the left side allows the hinge of the right leaf 118 of the platform 112 to bend towards the inclining platform. In other words, inclination of the platform 112 causes the hinge or other suitable connection between the second leaf 118 and the second side 114 of the platform 112 to engage or operate to allow the second leaf 118 to “bend” out of the 1800 plane of the platform into a lesser angle. Preferably, as depicted, the right leaf 118 stays parallel to the floor at all times to secure the patient in place. In other words, it is more accurate to say that it is the platform that is bending towards the leaf and not vice versa.

According to an aspect of the invention, it is desirable to provide for extension of the area parallel to the floor to secure the patient from rolling off the table during tilting. While the provision of a telescoping leaf is within the skill of the ordinary artisan, in a preferred embodiment, the platform moves relative an undersurface 300 which remains stationary during tilting and serving as a leaf extension. For example, as discerned from FIG. 2A, as the platform 112 inclines (thereby raising side 113), the second leaf 118 opposite the raised side retracts towards the center of the table reveling belt 290 on top of a stationary undersurface 300 parallel to the floor which operates to effectively extend the amount of horizontal table space. The length of the second leaf 118 is in effect increased from a first length as shown in FIG. 2A to a second length as shown in FIG. 2B, thereby increasing space on which the patient's left side 227 may occupy and decreasing the risk of a patient rolling off the table. As a result of the tilting, the patient's left side 225 is more accessible to the examiner positioned at station 210. As shown in FIG. 2B, in at least one embodiment, the angle of inclination 250 is approximately a forty degree angle. After being presented with the disclosure herein, however, those of ordinary skill in the relevant art will realize that any angle of inclination through the vertical can be easily achieved.

In a preferred embodiment, the effective extension of each leaf is caused by a roller or conveyor system 280 including a belt or track 290 upon which the platform and leaves move relative to an undersurface 300. As shown in FIG. 2A, in such an embodiment, as the platform inclines, the activated leaf 118 is pulled in an inward direction with respect to the elevation device 205. Similarly, the examination table can incline in an opposite direction (to the left, as shown in FIG. 3A), to position the patient's right side 227 toward an examiner at station 210. In such an instance, the first hinged leaf 116 is preferably activated and extends as the platform 112 is inclined to the left. In either case, while the platform moves, the undersurface 300 remains to provide additional space in the gravitational direction of the patient to provide greater security to the patient. The bearings, belt, or track 290 that sits on the undersurface 300 is preferably covered or otherwise configured to prevent a patient's clothing or skin from being pinched between any moving parts.

In an alternative embodiment shown in FIGS. 3A and 3B, a curved supporting area and two-way hinges (not shown) are used to secure patients during tilting. The curvature of the patient supporting area may be due to the use of a curved undersurface, curved leaf, and/or the provision of curved padding covering the leaf, for example. In the depicted embodiment, as the platform 112 is raised on its right side, the left leaf 116 is pulled to the right. The hinge(s) of left leaf 116 is engaged by contact with a supporting undersurface 300 upon which the platform 112 initially rests. The continued movement to the right causes the left leaf 116 to be pulled until it rests on the supporting undersurface 300. Supporting undersurface 300 is configured to hold the weight of the patient and now that left leaf 316 is on top of the supporting undersurface 300, the left leaf 116 can receive weight of a patient being tilted. According to an advantageous aspect of the invention, the undersurface 300 is in this embodiment is concavely curved, and, preferably, the left leaf 116 is also curved or configured to substantially conform to a curved undersurface. As will be appreciated, using this configuration, the leaf acts as a cradle to prevent a patient from rolling off the table. As will also be appreciated, curvature of the table can be accomplished for any of the embodiments described herein should it be deemed desirous to do so.

It should be noted that in at least one embodiment, the table 110 can also be positioned in a variety of other positions, as would be known to one of ordinary skill in the relevant art after being presented with the disclosure herein. For example, in at least one embodiment, the table can be formed in a chair-like position, as shown in FIG. 4. It should be noted that in such an embodiment, although the seat portion and the backrest portion can be raised and lowered, when being tilted to the left or to the right, the preferably do so in unison, forming one flat plane.

FIGS. 5-9 depict a presently preferred sonographer's table according to the invention. As shown in FIG. 5, the table 510 can be configured to be adjustable from a seated, through a reclined, to a supine position for treating and examining patients as discussed in connection with FIG. 4. In accordance with this embodiment of the invention, however, the sonographer's table does not use hinged leaves. As shown in FIGS. 6-9, the sonographer's table comprises a fixed first side 516, a fixed second side (optional) 518, and a central platform portion 512 disposed there between. Central platform portion 512 is configured to tilt a patient towards the fixed first side 516. Analogously to the embodiments described previously herein, as the right side of the platform is inclined via an elevation device (not shown) to tilt a patient towards the fixed first side 516, the left side (or bottom portion) 513 of the platform 512 moves towards the right. In the present embodiment, due to the first fixed side 516 not moving to the right in cooperative tandem as in some of the previously disclosed embodiments, a supporting undersurface 500 must be supplied to fill in the area of the retreating platform. In a preferred embodiment, as shown in various stages of tilting in FIGS. 6-9, a padded supporting surface 500 is spooled out from below the table during the tilting process. The padded supporting surface 510 can be spooled out via use of a belt or linked structure, such as a roller 520, attached to the bottom of the retreating platform or any other suitable method.

FIGS. 10A-C depicts an alternative embodiment of a sonographer's table according to the invention. In accordance with this embodiment of the invention, a table frame 551 and tilt table platform 552 are employed. As with other embodiments, tilt table platform 552 is configured to move towards its inclining side during tilting using any suitable means for the tilting process. As tilting platform 552 moves, exposed area 553 inside table frame 551 is revealed. Preferably, a contact surface 554 sufficient to support the patient is provided in exposed area 553.

In a preferred embodiment, padded supporting is cooperatively supplied to the exposed area for the comfort of the patient and perhaps to help to prevent pinching of a patients skin, hair or clothing by the moving parts associated with the undersurface 554 of the table.

FIGS. 11A and 11B depict an alternative embodiment of a sonographer's table according to the invention. According to this embodiment, sonographer's table 510 comprises a titling platform 572 operatively associated with a conveyor arrangement 571. The conveyor 571 includes a belt 573 connected to the platform 572. As the platform 572 is inclined, the belt 573 feeds towards platform to provide horizontal surface area 574 for the patient. The conveyor 571 then retracts the belt 573 for declining of platform 572. Preferably, the belt 573 is padded or otherwise covered to hinder the pinching of skin, clothing or hair by joints and moving parts.

The sonographer's table 510 may be actuated by any suitable means including manual movement whether by pulling on the platform or using a hand-crank or the like to move the conveyor belt. Preferably, the conveyor is motorized or otherwise non-manually driven.

As will be appreciated, using a treadmill-type configuration requires the use of suitable stops (not shown) and the like to prevent a patient from rolling off the platform. Likewise, the table could be curved concavely to cradle the patient to prevent roll-offs as previously discussed herein Other preferable safety features include the provision of a hand grip 580 to allow a patient to hold themselves during tilting. A presently preferred handgrip 580 is featured in FIG. 11B.

FIG. 11A also showcases the support cabinet 600 associated with the table 510. The cabinet 600 can be wired with electricity for operating examination equipment, lighting, a monitor 590, etc. The cabinet 600 also preferably includes storage space for medical supplies, blankets, etc.

Additional and accessory devices may be provided or used with the table and/or cabinet as desired and depend on the intended use of the table. For example, as also featured in FIG. 11A, a monitor 590 may be associated with the table to allow the patient to view the sonogram or to allow a doctor to more easily show the patient what the doctor is viewing during the sonogram. A host of other auxiliary devices for use with the tables of the present invention will be readily apparent to one of ordinary skill in the art after reading the present specification.





 
Previous Patent: Foldable baby crib

Next Patent: Bed tilting apparatus