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Publication numberUS2835246 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateMay 20, 1958
Filing dateDec 22, 1954
Priority dateDec 22, 1954
Publication numberUS 2835246 A, US 2835246A, US-A-2835246, US2835246 A, US2835246A
InventorsPaul Boettger
Original AssigneePaul Boettger
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Handling medical specimens
US 2835246 A
Abstract  available in
Images(2)
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Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

May 20, 1958 Filed Dec. 22. 1954 P. BOETTGER 2 Sheets-Sheet 1 I| L m M Ii E. il

63a* W4 @5&5 4 'I ,c M h il' fllllil 95? "`3 H [I n ze w Z- If 97! AIM@ 4a 'f U I" MJ M gV W2 7 x 1kg! M /f *l /3' 2 j f, 4b

INVENTOR PA UL. @DE TTG-ER May 20, 1958 P. BOETTGER HANDLING MEDICAL SPECIMENS 2 Sheets-Sheet .2

Filed Dec. 22, 1954 United States Patent O 2,835,246 Y HANDLING MEDICAL SPECIMENS Paul Boettger, Glfenbach (Main), Germany Application December 22, 1954, Serial No. 476,940

15 Claims. (Cl. 128--2) The present invention relates to the handling of medical specimens, and more particularly it relates to a container assembly for medical specimens.

Medicalspecimens such as blood, urine, gastric juice, diphtheria swabs, or the like, are usually carried from the patient to the examining laboratory by being first introduced into a test tube, which test tube is then closed and placed in a suitable shipping container. Considerable disadvantages are connected with this method of transporting medical specimens. The test tube might break, specially prepared plugs for closing the test tube are required which plugs have to be washed after use so that special washing facilities have to be provided and that the persons carrying out the washing of the tubes and plugsy are unavoidably exposedto infection. Furthermore, special containers are needed for overpacking the test tubes, the weight of the entirepackaging material isv very considerable relative to the weight of the specimens itself, particularly since customarily the test tube is first packed into a wooden or sheet metal ycontainer which container for mailing purposes has to be packed into a suitable folding boX or the like.

Thus, it is an object of the present invention to provide a container assembly for medical specimens which overcomes the above-mentioned dliculties.

It is a further object of the present invention to provide a simple and inexpensive container assemblywhich can be handled without exposing the person handling the same to the danger of infection.

Other objects and advantages of the present invention will become apparent from a further reading of the description and the appended claims.

With the above and other objects in view the present invention mainly consists in a container assembly for medical specimens, comprising, in combination an inner container made of a plastic material and having an inside wall, means cooperating with the inner container for tightly closing the same and for introducing a medical specimen into the same, the means comprising a cover removably carried by the inner container for closing and tightly sealing the same, a projection carried by the cover and extending from the latter into the interior of the inner container, at least one sealing member carried by the projection of the inner container and spaced from the cover, the sealing member abutting against the entire length of an annular inner surface portion forming part of the inside Wall of the inner container so as to tightly close an interior portion of the inner container located at the side of the sealing member opposite from the cover, the projection extending beyond the sealing member into the tightly `closed interior portion of the inner container and terminating in the tightly closed interior portion in a free end portion which is adapted to receive a medical specimen, so that the cover together with a medical specimen on the free end portion of the projection may be mounted on the inner container to locate the medical specimen rice in the tightly closed interior portion of the inner container, an outer container removably receiving the inner container, and yclosing means removably carried by the outer container and engaging the cover for closing the outer container and for urging the cover of the inner container to a position closing the inner container.

The medical specimen is introduced into the inner container which is preferably transparent and made of polyvinyl chloride or polystyrene or another suitable synthetic material. lThereafter the inner container is closed tightly and placed into a second or outer container also preferably made of transparent polyvinyl chloride or other suitable synthetic plastic material, and the outer container with the inner container therein is closed in such a manner that the closing of the outer container insures tight closure of the inner container. The containers are used only once. They are preferably injection-molded from such synthetic plastic material as polyvinyl chloride or polystyrene. Due to the nature of this manufacturing process, the containers are produced in sterile condition. The sterile injectionmoldings are then taken from the molds under sterile conditions and are immediately assembled to form the above-described double containers. The double container is then opened only immediately prior to introduction of the specimen into the same and is Closed immediately after the specimen has been introduced.

Since the material of which the inner and outer containers are made is transparent, it is possible to observe and recognize the contents of the container by visual inspection. Containers made of such material as polyvinyl chloride or polystyrene possess the additional advantage that the material fuses at relatively low temperatures such as between 70 and 80 C., and that it is not imilamrnable, while it can be burned in an open flame. Consequently, it is possible to safely destroy the containers after the required amount of the specimen has been removed therefrom, by burning the containers without rst cleaning the same. On the other hand, in large laboratories where a great: number of containers are used, it is also possible to melt the containers after a more or less superficial cleaning. During the fusing or melting of the containers which need not be sterilized beforehand, the remainder of the medical specimen is completely destroyed and the thusobtained fused mass can be returned to the manufacturer for the production of other injection-molded articles.

Another feature of the invention resides in that the extension consists of a swabbing instrument having an enlarged head, which may be rough, grooved, apertured, provided with fibers, formed like a brush, or in a similar manner, to enable swabs to be taken without applying j wadding around the stem.

The novel features which are considered as characteristic for the invention are set forth in `particular in the appended claims. The invention itself, however, both as to its construction and its method of operation, together with additional objects and advantages thereof, will be best understood from the following description of specific embodiments when read in connection with the accompanying drawings, in which:

Fig. l shows the double container according to the invention as an excrement tube and diphtheria tube.

Fig. 2 shows the application for other specimens.

Fig. 3 is a vertical longitudinal sectional view showing Y another embodiment.

Fig. 4 is a vertical sectional view showing another Fig. 8 is a top plan view of the inner container, and

Fig. 9 is a cross-sectional view of the outer container.

According to Fig. l the empty device comprises a cylindrical inner container 1, which has arranged on its inner `wall 2 an annular seat 3 for a sealing disk or sealing member 4. That sealing disk 4 is suitably con* nected to the container cover 5 by a stem 6. The underside of the sealing disk 4 is provided with a spoonlike extension or free end portion 4a.

The inner container cover 5 has arranged on its outside a resilient projection 7, which is compressed by the cover 8 of the outer container 9. Elements "i and S form a means for closing the outer container and urging the cover of the inner container to its closed position. 1t designates the annular gap between the inner container 1 and the outer container i A cover letter may be accommodated in said gap.

Thus, the inner container consisting preferably of polyvinyl chloride or polystyrene and serving to receive the specimen, can he closed tightly by the cover which has a projection into the interior of the container such as a stem, pin, sleeve, plug or the like, which carries a sealing disk tightly adjoining the inside wall of the inner container and which also carries an extension directed towards the bottom of the inner container for receiving the specimen. The inner container is resiliently inserted into the larger outer or second container which outer container can also be closed. According to the illustrated embodiment, an annular seat for a sealing `disk is arranged on the inside wall of the preferably cylindrical inner container, and a sealing disk of corresponding configuration is connected with the container cover. A further extension of the container extends from the sealing disk towards the lower portion of the inner container and may, for instance, be formed in the shape of a spoon. 1n this manner, a so-called excrement tube is formed which is provide-d with a double closure so that the specimen will be arranged in the lower part of the container. Since the sealing disk is formed on its underside like a spoon and is suitably connected by a stem to the cover of the inner container, the cover with stem and spoon may easily be used for taking the excrement specimen and introducing it into the inner container. Thus, the inner container is sealed twice, once by the sealing disk and simultaneously also by the closing of the cover. Resilient projection `7 on the upper side of a cover of the inner container consists suitably also of polyvinyl chloride or a similar synthetic plastic material. ient projection '7, the inner container is resiliently held in the outer container after the outer container has been closed, and it is not necessary to introduce special resilient packing material of different composition than the material of which inner and outer containers are made.

For diphtheria swabs the excrement tubes shown in Fig. l are used. In the manufacture of said tubes, wadding from sterile packages is twisted under sterile conditions around the spoon tip during the manufacture of the tubes.

The embodiment according'to Fig. 2 corresponds to Fig. 1 in respect of containers 1 and and the container cover 8 for the outer container, Whereas the container cover for the inner container 1 has no stem with sealing disk and spoon.

According to Figs. 3-5 the embodiment of the invention comprises again an inner container 1, whose inside wall 2, which is smooth all over, is engaged by the sealing rim 3a of the sealing member 4. That sealing disk is connected to the container cover 5 by a projection 6a stuck into a corresponding sleeve or the like opening of the container cover 5.

As contrasted with Figs. 1 and 2, the container cover 5 also enters the inner container 1.

Instead of the spoon shown in Fig. l, a stern 4a is By means of resil- 4. provided on the underside of the sealing member 4 and is stuck in a corresponding bore of the sealing member 4. The adherence between the plug 6a of the sealing member 4 and the socket opening of the cover 5 exceeds the maximum adherence possible between the sealing rim 3a and the inside wall 2 of the inner container 1.

The stem 4o carries at its free end portion an enlarged head 4b, which in the case illustrated is grooved for the direct taking of swabs. Where the device is used for specimens other than excrements or diphtheria swabs, the stem 4a can be pulled out ot the sealing member 4 and can be omitted.

Since the stem 4a is generally too short for taking swabs in the throat, the container is constructed according to the invention to form at the same time a handle prolonging the stem. To this end the bottom 11 of the outer container 9 may be provided according to Fig, 6 with a `dovetail groove whereas the cover 5 is provided with a dovetail. When the cover 5' is stuck into the bottom 11 of the outer container 9, the container 9 will provide a handle prolonging the stem da.

Another embodiment is shown in Fig. 7. Here the cover 5 has an outer rim 15a, with which it is inserted in the inner container inversely to its position in the other embodiments. lf the bottom 12 of container 1 is provided with a dovetail groove, similar to that of cover 5 in Fig. 6, a second prolongation of the instrument is provided by connecting the bottom 12 of the inner container 1 to the bottom 11 of the outer container 9.

The cover S is suitably formed with recesses 16 in its outer rim to facilitate gripping it when opening and closing the device. According to Fig. 9 the outer container 9 is formed with stiiening ribs 13, which prevent also the rolling ot the container when laid down.

The invention is not restricted to the embodiments of the empty device shown but can be adapted in its details to a considerable extent to the requirements of specific cases, without departing from the spirit of the invention.

For the shipment of samples which do not require sealing of the lower portion of the inner container by means of a sealing disk or the like, the inner container may be closed by a simple cover. in that case, the annular seat on the inside of the inner container is not used or is not provided, since a single closure of the inner container will be sufficient.

It is also possible to introduce a rolled-up letter or the like into the annular gap between the inner and outer containers which, for instance, may show on its outside the name and address of the laboratory to which the specimen is to be shipped.

lf desired, the outer container can also be reinforced by stiftening ribs onvits outside and/or the outer wall of the outer container may be out of round in order to prevent the outer container from rolling on a ilat surface.

It is also within the scope of the present invention to have the sealing disk contact with its sealing rim directly the inside wall of the inner container which inside wall may be smooth throughout its entire length. Thereby, the manufacture of the container assembly is further simplified.

Preferably, the inner container may be stepped above the sealing disk or may have an inside wall which is slightly tapered towards the bottom of the inner container. In both cases the inner container will be of simple geometrical form, easily to be injection-molded from suitable plastics. The cover of the inner container, the sealing disk and the spoon can form plug-in parts and the adherence between the plugged stern of the sealing disk and the socket opening of the cover will exceed the highest adherence which is possible between the sealing rim of the disk and the inside wall of the inner container. Thereby, it will be prevented that the sealing disk over the stem will remain in the inner container when the cover thereof is removed.

Instead of polyvinylchloride or polystyrene, the containers may be made of other thermoplastics meeting the requirements of the process according to the invention; these plastics may be formed by various injection molding methods. Such plastics comprise, e. g., substances based on polyamides, polyesters, polyethylene, and other polymers and polycondensates, cellulose derivatives, etc.

Where the outer and inner container is made of polyvinylchloride or polystyrene, the aforementioned advantages are obtained Vand the usefulness of the container is further increased by the possibility of opening the container by a hot needle or the like and taking the content without opening the actual closure. Thus the danger of infection is substantially reduced.

It is also suitable, e. g. with blood specimens, to pierce two holes in the inner container 1 with a hot needle or the like for removing the blood serum by decanting. The blood cake can be taken later by open ing the cover.

lt will be understood that each of the elements described above, or two or more together, may also nd a useful application in other types of container assemblies dilering from the types described above.

While the invention has been illustrated and described as embodied in a container assembly for medical specimens, it is not intended to be limited to the details shown, since various modiiications and structural changes may be made without departing in any way from the spirit ofthe present invention.

Without further analysis, the foregoing will so fully reveal the gist of the present invention that others can by applying current knowledge readily adapt it for various applications without omitting features that, from the standpoint of prior art, fairly constitute essential characteristics of the generic or specific aspects of this invention and, therefore, such `adaptations should and are intended to be comprehended within the meaning and range of equivalence of the following claims.

What is claimed as new and desired to be `secured by Letters Patent is:

1. A container assembly for medical specimens, comprising, in combination, an inner container made of -a plastic material and having an inside wall; means cooperating with said inner container for tightly closing the same and for introducing a medical specimen into the same, said means comprising a cover removably carried by said inner container for closing and tightly sealing the same, a projection carried by said cover and extending from the latter into the interior of said inner container, at least one sealing member carried by said projection in said inner container and spaced from said cover, said sealing member abutting against the entire length of an annular inner surface portion forming part of said inside wall of said inner container so as to tightly close an interior portion of said inner container located at the side of said sealing member opposite from said cover, said projection extending beyond said sealing member into the tightly closed interior portion of said inner container and terminating in said tightly closed interior portion in a free end portion which is adapted to receive a medical specimen, so that said cover together with a medical specimen on said free end portion of said projection may be mounted on said inner container to locate said medical specimen in said tightly closed interior portion of said inner container; an outer container removably receiving said inner container; and closure means removably carried by said outer container and engaging said cover for closing said outer container and for urging said cover of said inner container to a position closing said inner container.

2. A container assembly as claimed in claim 1, in which at least the inner one of said containers consists of an elastic non-opaque thermoplastic material.

3. A container assembly as set forth in claim l, in which the inside wall of the inner container is smooth throughout its length and the sealing member is formed with a sealing rim directly engaging said inside wall.

4. A container assembly as set forth in claim 1, in which the sealing member is formed with a sealing rim directly engaging the inside wall of the inner container and the inner container is inwardly and downwardly stepped above the sealing disk.

5. A container assembly as set forth in claim 1, in which the inside wall of the inner container is inwardly and downwardly tapered and smooth throughout its length and the sealing member is formed with a sealing rim directly engaging said inside wall.

6. A container assembly as set forth in claim 1, in which the outer container is formed with reinforcing ribs on its outside.

7. A container assembly as set forth in claim 1, in which said cover, sealing member and free end portion are plug-connected.

8. A container assembly as set forth in claim l, in which said cover, sealing member and free end portion are plug-connected and the sealing member is formed with a sealing rim directly engaging the inside wall of the inner container, the adherence between the sealing member and the cover exceeding the greatest possible adherence between said sealing rim and the inside Wall of the inner container.

9. A container assembly as set forth in claim 1, in which said free end portion is formed as a spoon.

10. A container assembly as set forth in claim 1, in which said free end portion consists of a swabbing instrument having an enlarged head.

l1. A container assembly as set forth in claim l, in which said free end portion consists of a swabbing instrument having an enlarged head formed with grooves for receiving the swab.

12. A container assembly as set forth in claim l, in which the outer container has a bottom and the underside of said bottom and the upper side of said cover of said inner container have complementary dovetail formations for interconnecting said bottom and cover.

13. A container assembly as set forth in claim 1, in which said cover is formed with a normally upwardly extending peripheral rim adapted to be itted in the inside wall of the inner container after inversion of the cover.

14. A container assembly as set forth in claim 3, in which said inner and outer containers have bottoms provided on their outside with mutually complementary dovetail formations for interconnecting said bottoms.

15. A container assembly as setjforth in claim 1, in which said plastic material at least of the inner container consists of polyvinylchloride.

References Cited in the le of this patent UNTED STATES PATENTS 2,000,419 Sarber May 7, 1935 2,072,630 Ferry Mar. 2, 1937 2,175,735 Banks Oct. 10, 1939 2,452,385 Merckel Oct. 26, 1948 2,689,566 Lockhart Sept. 21, 1954

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Classifications
U.S. Classification600/570, 215/6, 73/864.72, 73/864.71, 220/669, 220/23.87, 600/572, 73/864.91
International ClassificationA61F13/38, A61B10/00, A61B10/02
Cooperative ClassificationA61B10/02, A61F13/38, A61B2010/0216, A61B10/0096
European ClassificationA61B10/00S, A61F13/38, A61B10/02