Title:
Chest drainage unit shoulder strap with quick-disconnect feature
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A mechanism for transporting a medical device, wherein the medical device may be quickly and/or conveniently disconnected from a patient or a member of a healthcare provider's medical staff transporting the medical device. Also, a method of transporting a medical device, wherein the method provides for the quick and/or convenient detachment of the medical device from a patient or medical staff member transporting the medical device.



Inventors:
Phung, Trinh D. (Attleboro, MA, US)
Dreyer, Erich A. (Bellingham, MA, US)
Moore, Douglas W. (Westwood, MA, US)
Application Number:
11/377550
Publication Date:
09/20/2007
Filing Date:
03/17/2006
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
224/148.6
International Classes:
A45F5/00; A45F3/14; A45F3/16
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
LANDOLFI, JR., STEVEN M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BakerHostetler (Washington, DC, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A mechanism for transporting a medical device, the mechanism comprising: a receiving portion connected to a medical device; a releasable engaging portion including a rigid component and configured to releasably engage the receiving portion; and an accommodating portion connected to the engaging portion and configured to accommodate a user transporting the medical device when the engaging portion is engaged with the receiving portion.

2. The mechanism of claim 1, wherein the receiving portion comprises a substantially closed loop connected to a surface of the medical device.

3. The mechanism of claim 1, wherein the medical device comprises a chest drainage unit.

4. The mechanism of claim 1, wherein the engaging portion comprises a clip.

5. The mechanism of claim 1, wherein the receiving portion comprises a first portion of a buckle and wherein the engaging portion comprises a second portion of a buckle.

6. The mechanism of claim 1, wherein the accommodating portion comprises a flexible portion and forms a substantially closed loop.

7. The mechanism of claim 6, wherein the loop is adjustable.

8. A method of transporting a medical device, the method comprising: connecting a receiving portion to a medical device; releasably engaging the receiving portion with an engaging portion including a rigid component and having an accommodating portion connected thereto; and transporting the medical device using the accommodating portion when the engaging portion is engaged with the receiving portion.

9. The method of claim 8, wherein the connecting step comprises connecting a substantially closed loop to a surface of the medical device.

10. The method of claim 8, wherein the connecting step comprises connecting the receiving portion to a chest drainage unit.

11. The method of claim 8, wherein the releasably engaging step comprises choosing the engaging portion to include a clip.

12. The method of claim 8, wherein the releasably engaging step comprises engaging a first portion of a buckle with a second portion of the buckle.

13. The method of claim 8, wherein the transporting step comprises choosing the accommodating portion to include a flexible portion that forms a substantially closed loop.

14. The method of claim 13, further comprising: adjusting a dimension of the loop.

15. A mechanism for transporting a medical device, the mechanism comprising: connecting means for connecting to a medical device; engaging means for releasably engaging the connecting means, wherein the engaging means includes a rigid component; and accommodating means for accommodating a user transporting the medical device when the engaging means is engaged with the connecting means, wherein the accommodating means is connected to the engaging means.

16. The mechanism of claim 15, wherein the connecting means comprises a substantially closed loop connected to a surface of the medical device.

17. The mechanism of claim 15, wherein the medical device comprises a chest drainage unit.

18. The mechanism of claim 15, wherein the engaging means comprises a clip.

19. The mechanism of claim 15, wherein the connecting means comprises a first portion of a buckle and wherein the engaging means comprises a second portion of the buckle.

20. The mechanism of claim 15, wherein the accommodating means comprises a flexible portion and forms a substantially closed adjustable loop.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates generally to components, systems, and methods for transporting a medical device. More particularly, the present invention relates to such components, systems, methods that may conveniently be disconnected from a medical device.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Medical devices are often too fragile, sensitive, bulky, and/or heavy to be conveniently transported without the use of wheels, rollers, or other attachments. However, some medical devices are sufficiently robust, small, and lightweight to be conveniently picked up by, for example, a medical staff member of a healthcare facility. In fact, some medical devices are sufficiently portable that they may be attached or connected to and carried by a patient being monitored and/or cared for by the medical device. For example, some currently available medical devices are connected to shoulder straps that form a loop beginning at the medical device, extending across a patient's chest, shoulder, and back, and ending back at the medical device.

Once attached to a patient, a medical device having the above-mentioned shoulder strap connected thereto is often difficult to remove from the patient. For example, when a patient is lying down in a hospital bed, a portion of the strap will be wedged between the patient's back and the hospital bed. Thus, the medical device may not be removed without forcing the patient's back off of the bed, which may cause the patient discomfort or which may wake a sleeping patient.

At least in view of the above, it would be desirable to provide mechanisms for conveniently removing a medical device from a patient, medical staff member or other person to which the medical device is attached. It would also be desirable to provide methods for conveniently removing a medical device from a patient, medical staff member or other person to which the medical device is attached.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The foregoing needs are met, to a great extent, by the present invention wherein, in a first embodiment thereof, a mechanism for transporting a medical device is provided. The mechanism includes a receiving portion connected to a medical device. The mechanism also includes a releasable engaging portion including a rigid component and configured to releasably engage the receiving portion. In addition, the mechanism further includes an accommodating portion connected to the engaging portion and configured to accommodate a user transporting the medical device when the engaging portion is engaged with the receiving portion.

In accordance with a second embodiment of the present invention, a method of transporting a medical device is provided. The method includes connecting a receiving portion to a medical device. The method also includes releasably engaging the receiving portion with an engaging portion including a rigid component and having an accommodating portion connected thereto. In addition, the method further includes transporting the medical device using the accommodating portion when the engaging portion is engaged with the receiving portion.

In accordance with a third embodiment of the present invention, another mechanism for transporting a medical device is provided. This other mechanism includes connecting means for connecting to a medical device. This other mechanism also includes engaging means for releasably engaging the connecting means, wherein the engaging means includes a rigid component. In addition, this other mechanism also includes accommodating means for accommodating a user transporting the medical device when the engaging means is engaged with the connecting means, wherein the accommodating means is connected to the engaging means.

There has thus been outlined, rather broadly, certain embodiments of the invention in order that the detailed description thereof herein may be better understood, and in order that the present contribution to the art may be better appreciated. There are, of course, additional embodiments of the invention that will be described below and which will form the subject matter of the claims appended hereto.

In this respect, before explaining at least one embodiment of the invention in detail, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited in its application to the details of construction and to the arrangements of the components set forth in the following description or illustrated in the drawings. The invention is capable of embodiments in addition to those described and of being practiced and carried out in various ways. Also, it is to be understood that the phraseology and terminology employed herein, as well as the abstract, are for the purpose of description and should not be regarded as limiting.

As such, those skilled in the art will appreciate that the conception upon which this disclosure is based may readily be utilized as a basis for the designing of other structures, methods and systems for carrying out the several purposes of the present invention. It is important, therefore, that the claims be regarded as including such equivalent constructions insofar as they do not depart from the spirit and scope of the present invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 illustrates a perspective view of a mechanism for transporting a medical device according to an embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 2 illustrates another perspective view of the mechanism for transporting a medical device illustrated in FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 illustrates a perspective view of a mechanism for transporting a medical device according to another embodiment of the present invention.

FIG. 4 illustrates another perspective view of the mechanism for transporting a medical device illustrated in FIG. 3.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

The invention will now be described with reference to the drawing figures, in which like reference numerals refer to like parts throughout. FIG. 1 illustrates a perspective view of a mechanism 10 for transporting a medical device 12 according to an embodiment of the present invention.

In FIG. 1, the medical device 12 is a chest drainage unit that, for example, may be used to evacuate air and/or fluid from a patient's chest cavity. Such evacuation helps to re-establish normal intrathoracic pressure in the patient's chest cavity and also facilitates the re-expansion of the patient's lungs to restore normal breathing dynamics. However, upon practicing one or more embodiments of the present invention, one of skill in the art will appreciate that, according to other embodiments of the present invention, the chest drainage unit illustrated in FIG. 1 may be replaced with another medical or, alternatively, a non-medical device.

The mechanism 10 illustrated in FIG. 1 includes a receiving portion 14 that is connected to the medical device 12. In the embodiment of the present invention illustrated in FIG. 1, the receiving portion 14 includes a substantially closed loop of material that is connected to an outer surface 16 of the casing 17 of the medical device 12. Often, the receiving portion 14 is made from the same material that the casing 17 of the medical device 12 is made from. Also, according to certain embodiments of the present invention, the receiving portion 14 is formed directly into or as part of the outer surface 16 of the casing 17. Commonly, the receiving portion 14 and/or the casing 17 of the medical device 12 is made from a hard plastic, a metal, or a metal alloy.

FIG. 2 illustrates another perspective view of the mechanism for transporting the medical device illustrated in FIG. 1. As illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2, the mechanism 10 also includes a releasable engaging portion 18 that is configured to releasably engage the receiving portion 14. As illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2, the releasable engaging portion 18, according to certain embodiments of the present invention, takes the form of a clip. The clip 18 illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2 includes an arcuate portion 20 that extends through the receiving portion 14 and a movable flexible portion 22 that abuts the arcuate portion 20 when no pressure is being applied to the flexible portion 22. When sufficient force or pressure is applied to the flexible portion 22, the flexible portion 22 is moved away from the arcuate portion 20 and toward the interior portion 23 of the clip.

As will be appreciated by one of skill in the art upon practicing one or more embodiments of the present invention, the releasable engaging portion 18 illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2 may quickly and conveniently be disconnected from the receiving portion 14 on the medical device 12 by applying pressure against the flexible portion 22 and then pulling the entire releasable engaging portion 18 away from the receiving portion 14.

The mechanism 10 for transporting the medical device 12 illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2 also includes an accommodating portion 24 that is connected to the engaging portion 18. Typically, the accommodating portion 24 is configured to accommodate a user (e.g., a patient or a member of a medical facility's staff) transporting the medical device 12 when the engaging portion 18 is engaged with the receiving portion 14.

In the embodiment of the present invention illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2, the accommodating portion 24 includes a flexible portion that takes the form of a strap. The strap forms a substantially closed loop and is attached to the releasable engaging portion 18 by a portion of the strap that passes through a slot 26 included at one end of the engaging portion 18.

The strap used in the accommodating portion 24 illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2 may include, for example, a flexible polymer, a fabric, a webbing, and/or any other flexible material. According to certain embodiments of the present invention, the loop formed by the strap in the accommodating portion 24 is large enough to fit around a patient's or other user's shoulder. According to other embodiments, the loop is large enough to extend, for example, from the medical device 12, across a patient's chest, over the patient's shoulder, across the patient's back, and back to the medical device 12.

According to certain embodiments of the present invention, the size of the loop formed in the accommodating portion 24 is adjustable. In order to accommodate such adjustability, according to certain embodiments of the present invention, the accommodating portion 24 includes a strap whose ends pass through a buckle 28 that is also included as a part of the accommodating portion 24. According to some of these embodiments, in order to adjust the size of the loop formed in the accommodating portion 24, longer or shorter portions of the strap are allowed to pass through the buckle 28. As will be appreciated by one of skill in the art upon practicing embodiments of the present invention, devices other than a buckle may be used to adjust the loop illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2. For example, a clip may be used to hold one section of a strap making up the accommodating portion 24 over another section of the strap.

FIGS. 3 and 4 illustrate perspective views of a mechanism for transporting a medical device 30 according to another embodiment of the present invention. The mechanism 30 illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 4 includes a two-piece engaging portion 32. More specifically, the engaging portion 32 includes a female portion of a buckle 34 and a male portion of a buckle 36. In FIG. 3, the female portion 34 and the male portion 36 are disengaged and, in FIG. 4, the female portion 34 and the male portion 36 are engaged.

The mechanism 30 illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 4 may be used to transport a medical device 38 such as, for example, a chest drainage unit. However, the mechanism 30 may also be used to transport non-medical devices.

The mechanism 30 illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 4 includes a receiving portion 40 that is connected to the medical device 38. In many respects, the receiving portion 40 illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 4 is analogous to the receiving portion 14 illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2. For example, the receiving portion 40, according to certain embodiments of the present invention, includes a rigid plastic, a metal, or a metallic alloy and may be built directly into the medical device 38.

As illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 4, the above-discussed female portion of the buckle 34 is connected to the receiving portion 40 through the use of a loop 42 that extends from the female portion 34, through the receiving portion 40, and back to the female portion 34. The loop 42 may be made, for example, from a strap or webbing. However, according to certain embodiments of the present invention, the female portion 34 is built directly into the casing 44 of the medical device 38.

The male portion of the buckle 36 illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 4 includes a slot 45 through which a portion of an accommodating portion 46 of the mechanism 30 passes. In a manner analogous to the accommodating portion 24 illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2, the accommodating portion 46 is typically made from a flexible material. Also, the size of the loop formed in the accommodating portion 46 may be adjusted by the use of, for example, a buckle, a clip, or any other mechanisms or method that will become apparent to one of skill in the art upon practicing one or more embodiments of the present invention.

One of skill in the art will appreciate, upon practicing one or more embodiments of the present invention, that the male portion 36 releasably engages the female portion 34 and thus allows the accommodating portion 46 of the mechanism 30 to be quickly disconnected from the medical device 38. More specifically, a user may disengage the male portion 36 from the female portion 34 by pushing the sides 31, 33 of the male portion 36 together while pulling on the male portion 36. As such, the medical device 38 may be detached from, for example, a patient, without necessitating the mechanism 30 also being detached from the patient.

According to another embodiment of the present invention, a method of transporting a medical device is provided. This method typically includes connecting a receiving portion (e.g., the receiving portion 14 illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 2 or the receiving portion 40 illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 4) to a medical device 12. However, according to certain embodiments of the present invention, the receiving portion may be built directly into the medical device. For example, the receiving portion may be formed in the outer casing of the medical device.

According to certain embodiments of the present invention, the above-discussed connecting step includes connecting a substantially closed loop to a surface of the medical device. Typically, this substantially closed loop is formed of metals, metal alloys, and/or hard plastics. However, non-rigid, substantially closed loops may also be used.

According to certain embodiments of the present invention, the above-discussed connecting step includes connecting the receiving portion to a chest drainage unit. However, according to other embodiments, this method may also be implemented using either other medical devices or using non-medical devices.

The above-discussed method also typically includes releasably engaging the above-mentioned receiving portion with an engaging portion having an accommodating portion connected thereto. When implemented using the mechanism 10 illustrated in FIGS. I and 2, this releasably engaging step may include choosing the engaging portion 18 to include a clip. When implemented using the mechanism 30 illustrated in FIGS. 3 and 4, this releasably engaging step may be implemented by engaging a first portion of a buckle 34 with a second portion of a buckle 36. However, other ways of implementing this step are also within the scope of the present invention.

The above-discussed method also typically includes transporting the medical device using the accommodating portion when the engaging portion is engaged with the receiving portion. This transporting step may be implemented, for example, by choosing the accommodating portion to include a flexible portion that forms a substantially closed loop. Then, the loop may be placed, for example, around a patient's or medical staffer's shoulder or torso. According to certain embodiments of the present invention, the above-discussed method also includes adjusting a dimension (e.g., the sized) of the loop. This may be done, for example, using the buckle 28 illustrated in FIG. 1 or a clip, as discussed above.

The many features and advantages of the invention are apparent from the detailed specification, and thus, it is intended by the appended claims to cover all such features and advantages of the invention which fall within the true spirit and scope of the invention. Further, since numerous modifications and variations will readily occur to those skilled in the art, it is not desired to limit the invention to the exact construction and operation illustrated and described, and accordingly, all suitable modifications and equivalents maybe resorted to, falling within the scope of the invention.