US 2877777 A
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Description (OCR text may contain errors)
March 17, 1959 c. w. WALTER 2,877,777
I METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR HANDLING AND CONDITIONING NEEDLE DEVICES Filed Jan. 25, 1955 4 Sheets-Sheet 1 March 17, 1959 c. w. WALTER METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR HANDLING AND CONDITIONING NEEDLE DEVICES 4 Sheets-Sheet 2 4 Filed Jan. 25, 1955 March 17, 1959 c, w, LT 2,877,777
METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR HANDLING AND CONDITIONING NEEDLE DEVICES Filed Jan. 25, 1955 4 Sheets-Sheet 5 6C I I I g I I a a deb Jaa 55 q 66 5301 65 I E 6 l as x a %-l- .:,-'-.s w c 3 7g r /4 126% L x /0 rash I Invenfofl: U 5 (212 2 WWW,
March 17, 1959 c. w. WALTER METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR HANDLING AND CONDITIONING NEEDLE DEVICES 4 Sheets-Sheet 4 Filed Jan. 25. 1955 flllll Carl W WaZiefl,
3%,, M W? i METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR HANDLING AND CONDITIONING NEEDLE DEVICES Carl W. Walter, Holliston, Mass.
Application January 25, 1955, Serial No. 484,055
7 Claims. (Cl. 134-23) The present invention relates generally to the handling of hypodermic and intravenous needles and the like tubular, surgical and medical equipment and more particularly to a method and apparatus for the disposal after use and the readying, including washing and rinsing, for reuse of such articles.
The usual handling and processing of needles between injections is not wholly reliable as to safety, even in the average hopsital. The contamination of the handlers by needle prick or chemical contact with non-sterile or chemically soiled needles serving as carriers or causants of hepatitis and contact dermatitis is not effectively prevented under existing methods and practices, which do not provide for processing of needles without contact. The uncertain, inefficient handling of the needles as in conventional washing and rinsing practice is conducive also to injury both to the needles and to the handlers. The present invention has for its object the provision of a safe, rapid and eificient technique for the handling of hypodermic intravenous, and surgical needles and associated fluid conducting medical and dental instruments. It provides more particularly a new and improved method and apparatus for the disposal after use and for the conditioning, including washing and rinsing, for reuse of such instruments. The invention aims further to provide a method and means whereby the needles may be stored and manipulated at and between operational or other use and at cleaning, inspecting, grinding, and sterilizing stations with a maximum of safety both to the needles and to the handlers and users thereof. The invention is characterized still further by a method and apparatus by which a plurality or set of the needles may simultaneously be rapidly and thoroughly cleaned on all surfaces coming into contact with the body or with the injected or withdrawn fluids.
The invention will be better understood from a consideration of the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawing, in which:
Fig. 1 is a front view of a washing and rinsing apparatus embodying the invention;
Fig. 2 is a section taken along the line 2-4 of Fig. 1;
Fig. 3 is a horizontal section along the line 33 of Fig. 1 showing the fluid conducting and jet supporting manifold of the invention;
Fig. 4 is a larger scale section taken along the line 4-4 of Fig. 3 and illustrating a needle in operative position in the apparatus of Figs. 1 and 2;
Fig. 5 is a perspective view of the manifold of Fig. 3 and of the elements associated therewith in the apparatus of Figs. 1 and 2;
Fig. 6 is a perspective of the needle manifold of the invention;
Fig. 7 is a perspective view of a tray employed in cooperation with the manifold of Fig. 6 in a following method step of the invention; and
Fig. 8 is a similar view of a needle carrying element employed in a further method step of the invention.
The kind or class of fluid carrying devices with the Sttes Pa e t .5
care and handling of which the present invention is concerned is exemplified by the hypodermic needle indicated generaly at 10, in Figs. 4 to 6, and shown to comprise more particularly a relatively thin-walled steel or other stem or tube 11 having a lumen or bore 12 of appropriate diameter. One end of the tube 11 is ground off at a relatively sharp angle to form the usual puncturing or piercing point or tip 13. lntegrally surrounding and axially extensive of the other end of the tube is an annular hub or carrier element 14 having a peripheral part 15 tapering toward the tip and formed internally with an annular passage 16 flaring outwardly at the free end to define a tapered seat or socket 17. It will be understood that the socket 17 is adapted to receive the usual nipple or coupling projection of a syringe (not shown) in the normal use-manipulation of the needle.
This invention provides new and improved means for efiicient, safe, and certain handling and processing of tubular surgical and medical equipment such as the needle 10, and more particularly for storing, transporting, and cleaning a group or set of such needles. As clearly shown in the several views Figs. 1, 2, 4 and 6, the invention apparatus or element comprises in a presently preferred embodiment an integral rigid rectangular rack, carrier or manifold 20 having flat top and bottom surfaces 21, 22 and which may be relatively long and thin, as at side and end walls 23, 24, 25, 26. The manifold 20 is advantageously fashioned or molded of an inert, impermeable, and smooth surfaced material such as the acrylic or polystyrene plastics, as for example that known commercially as Lucite. Said manifold 20 may be exteriorly formed also with relatively wide shallow side wall recessing 23a, 240, as for facilitating handling of the piece.
Further in accordance with the invention, the manifold top wall 21 is recessed to provide a plurality or set of identical parallel bores or sockets 27, which sockets are adapted to receive and support a similar set of the needles 10. The sockets 27 are shaped and formed more particularly with inner or lower portions 27a completely and also non-contactively enclosing the stems 11, with tapering intermediate portions 27b sealingly seized over or seating the similarly tapering portions 15 of the carriers 14, and with cylindrical outer portions 27c sized for noncontactive enclosure of the similar upper portions of the carriers 14, all as clearly shown in Fig. 4.
The instrument supporting rack, carrier, or manifold of the invention is characterized further by passages constructed and arranged to conduct washing and rinsing fluid under pressure over such needle surfaces as contact in use either the body or the injected or withdrawn fluids. As herein embodied, such passages comprise a relatively large diameter fluid passage 28 having a lengthwise horizontal portion 28a intersecting the lower socket portions 27a, as seen from Figs. 1, 2, 4, and 6, and having communicating vertical branches 28b, 28b, paralleling and surfacing outwardly of the sockets 27. The horizontal por tion 28a is seen more particularly to cross or communicate with the lower socket portions 27a at the upper ex tremities thereof, or immediately subjacent the intermediate socket portions 27b, for a reason which will'presently appear.
In the practice of the technique of the invention the manifold 20 is placed at or adjacent the operating table or other place of needle or the like instrument use, so that the individual needles may be dropped or deposited in the sockets directly from and immediately after use. It will be readily apparent that while rigidly fixed and firmly supported in the manifold 20 the needles are perfectly protected against injury, and that the exposure of such of their surfaces as may have become contaminated from contact with infected body or skin areas or contain irritating dry residue is also precluded. The manifold is seen further to provide a convenient means for the safe, certain and eflicient handling and transport simultaneously of a considerable number of needles. I have found a manifold accommodating a group or set of twelve, as illustrated, to be of a convenient size.
In the succeeding phases of the invention technique the needles 1.0 are readied for reuse, and more particularly disposed and manipulated in the various conditioning steps while still retained in the manifold, and thus without contact with the needle stems or bores. In a main conditioning step the needles are washed and rinsed in an apparatus such as illustrated in Figs. 1-5 and now to be described.
The needle washing apparatus selected for illustration herein is seen to comprise a cabinet of generally wide, shallow, upright construction and including a rigid, integral bottom wall 31 conveniently footed as on suction cups 32 and mounting parallel side walls 33, 34 having upwardly convergent side and semi-cylindrical top margins, Fig. 2. The cabinet is completely enclosed at the back and top by a plate 35 which is bent or folded down over the mentioned semi-cylindrical side wall tops to define a hood or visor 35a. A front wall 36 is shown as extending a relatively short distance above the cabinet bottom. Inwardly of the front wall 36 and paralleling the side wall margin is a supporting platform or plate 37, Fig. 2, which is secured to the cabinet side walls 33, 34 in any convenient manner, as by flanging over and welding its vertical edges 37a, 37b, Fig. 3. The plate 37 is seen further to extend upwardly from behind and below front wall 36 to a level predeterminedly below that of the visor 35a.
The needle manifold 20 is supported in cabinet and against plate 37 by a shaft 40 vertically slidable in a bearing 41, which latter is rigidly mounted centrally of said plate 37. In the embodiment illustrated the shaft 40 includes an extension screw 42 which may be fixed in any adjusted position by the lock nut 43, and which defines a vertically adjustable supporting surface or platform for the manifold 20, Figs. 1 and 2. Shaft 49 is shifted between dotted line solid-line, off-on positions, Fig. l, by means of a crank 44 which actuates a linkage 44a, 45 and which is rotatable on a stud 46 journalled in cabinet front wall 36 and in a bracket 38 supported therefrom. The crank 44 is seen further to comprise an operating arm or handle 44b angled forwardly of the cabinet front wall, Fig. 2, and having a range of movement limited by front-wall mounted stop means 36a, 36a.
The needle manifold 20 is additionally guided for desired vertical sliding movement in the cabinet by plates 47, 47 fixed to back support plate 37 and having guide flanges 47a, 47a at their inner vertical margins, which flanges are seen to be vertically aligned and laterally disposed so as to center the manifold on said plate 37, as for coupling connection with the manifold assembly now to be described.
Cooperating with the manifold 20 in the conditioning of the needle in the washing and rinsing apparatus of the invention is a manifold assembly indicated generally at 50, Figs. 1, 2, 4, and 5, and comprising a rigid rectangular block 51 rigidly fixed at a rear vertical face thereof to the upper margin of back support plate 37. Plate 37 may be stiffened and strengthened in the region of manifold support by a back-up plate indicated at 37a, Figs. 1, 3. This support element, rack, or manifold 51 is seen to have lateral and vertical extent at least equal to the length and width of the needle manifold 20, and to project horizontally in its greatest dimension outward or forward of the cabinet 30, Fig. 2. As will also be clear from the drawing the relative arrangement of the cabinet and the manifold is such that the needle manifold 20 is vertically slidable immediately beneath the rear portion of the manifold 51 and in a plane paralleling the vertical axis of the same. The fixedly mounted manifold element 51 is conveniently fashioned of a non-reactive, but readily worked material, such as brass, adapted for fluid passage and for coaction with the fluid conduit means later to be described.
The manifold 51 is seen further to have a throughgoing fluid passage 52 including a vertical inlet 52a located at the right-hand forward margin of the block underface, Fig. 5, a horizontal lengthwise portion 52b, similarly horizontal rearwardly extending branch portions 520, 52c communicating at right angles with said lengthwise portion 52b, and vertical outlets 52d, 52d projecting downwardly from the rear extremities of said branch portions 52c, 52c. Outlets 52d, 52d are seen to receive flanged sleeves or cylinders 53, 53 carrying domed rubber washers 53a, 53a and defining coupling nipples for the manifold, Fig. 4. The sleeve carrying manifold 51 is further provided with a plurality or set of throughgoing vertical bores 54 of predeterminedly smaller diameter than and also aligned and coaxial with needle manifold recess portions 270, and receiving jet devices to be described.
This sleeve presenting manifold assembly 50 will be understood to cooperate with the needle supporting manifold 20 to restrict the fluid outlet from and increase the fluid pressure in the needle passages 12, and to accelerate and form the fluid discharge from the needle carrier passages 27 in fluid streams or jets, as now to be described.
The jet forming means of the present washing apparatus are shown in Figs. 1, 2, 4, and 5 as comprising a plurality or set of tubes 60 vertically slidable in manifold guide bores 54 and normally supported therein by washers 64 fixed at their upper ends. The sleeves are seen to be depressed into their normal washersupported position, Fig. 4, by springs 65 compressed between the manifold underface anud an external shoulder 62 formed on the jets near the lower extremities thereof. The jets 60 are seen further to have a conical lower tip or nose 61 tapering similarly as needle carrier socket 17, and an axial through passage or bore 63, dimensioned generally as carrier passage 16, but importantly reduced or restricted at its upper end 63a to a diameter approximating that of needle bore 12.
The needle washing and rinsing apparatus further comprises means for conducting the washing and rinsing fluid supply to the manifold assembly 50. Suitable fluid regulating and detergent mixing means are indicated diagrammatically in Figs. 1 and 2 as a control unit sealed in any convenient portion of the cabinet chamber, herein against side wall 34, and having an inlet fitting 71 projecting through the cabinet rear wall for connection to a supply conduit 80. The manifold supplying means 70 further comprises a control box outlet 72 and tubing 0 connecting the same to manifold inlet 52a. The invention will be understood to comprehend control elements providing for on-oif flow control, for mixing the washing solution or for regulating time and temperature of washing and rinsing cycles, as may variously be desired. The control unit 70 may thus comprise valve means (not shown) controllable both manually, as by a bar switch 73, Fig. l, and automatically, as by a microswitch 74 actuated by the rotation of crank operating handle 44b clockwise to the right hand, solid line operating position of Fig. 1.
In the operation of the described needle washing apparatus the loaded needle manifold 20 is first seated on the shaft 40, against the plate 37, and between the guides 47 with the shaft in the lower or dotted-line position, Fig. 1. The crank arm 44b is then manipulated clockwise to the on position forcing the shaft 40 and manifold 20 upwardly to the operative position, in which the nipples 53, 53 of the manifold 50 are seen to have sealed seating in the inlet recesses 28b, 28b. The upward movement of manifold 20 additionally brings the manifold carried needles 10 and jets 60 into fluidtight engagement, the needle carrier sockets 17 being received over and forcing upwardly the jet tips 61 against the force of jet depressing springs 65, and said springs 65 sewing also to assure sealed seating of carrier hubs 15 in manifold sockets 27b.
The course of the washing fluid through the manifold 50, 20 and needles is indicated by arrows in Figs. 4 and 5. It is seen to be carried from the control unit 70 by the tube 90 to the inlet 52a of manifold 50, and then through the lengthwise and branch passages 52b, 52c, 52c to the outlets 52d, 52d. From the latter it is carried by needle manifold branch passages 28b, 28b to the longitudinal manifold passage 28a which intersects the several needle recesses 27.
From there the fluid is forced downwardly around the outside of the needle stems 11 to the lowermost portion 27a ofthe needle recesses 27 and thence upwardly through the needle stem and carrier bore passages 12, 16 to' the communicating passages 63 in the jets 60. The restrictions 63a in the jet passages 60 will be understood to maintain desired pressure in the coupled, continuous needle and jet passages 12, 16, 63, with the result that the fluid emerges from the jets in streams of sufiicient force and velocity normally to ascend vertically upwardly to impinge upon the undersurface of the visor 35a. This pressurizing of the washing fluid serves, of course, to assure thorough cleaning and cleaning the the needle surfaces. A further important advantage of the described construction is that stopping up or obstruction of the needle passages can readily be detected by direct visual comparison of the jet streams.
Referring still to the course of the washing or rinsing fluid, the spent jet streams fall by gravity to and collect in the sump formed at and by the bottom of the cabinet, and which is drained by a rear wall outlet 39, Fig. 2, adapted for connection to a carry-off hose 100.
In the prior handling of the needles subsequent to their washing and rinsing and incident to their further conditioning for reuse, they have been subjected generally to random dispersal, as at the inspection station. According to the present invention the needles are taken from the washing apparatus in sets, and retained in ordered array in the manifold 20. At the inspection table the manifold is inverted over a corrugated surface such as that provided by the rack 110, Fig. 7, by means of which the desired separate status and parallel arrangement of the needles is maintained. The needles are then checked for sharpness of tip, and ground if necessary.
In the final phase of the needle conditioning technique of the invention, the needles are assembled in tubes 120, Fig. 8, providing a seating restriction 121, and adapted to be sealed as by a wad of cotton 122. The needles are sterilized and carried to the operating station in these tubes 120, and may be placed in use merely by inverting the tube over the syringe, and thus without possibly contaminating manual manipulation.
From the foregoing it will be appreciated that the present invention provides novel means and method for the safe, certain handling and conditioning of needles and the like tubular medical and surgical apparatus whereby such apparatus is processed without contact, and whereby contamination of handlers by chemically soiled needles is effectively prevented.
It will be understood that my invention, either as to product, means or method, is not limited to the exemplary embodiments or steps herein illustrated or described, and I set forth its scope in my following claims.
1. Apparatus for storing, transporting and cleaning a hypodermic needle set comprising a rigid integral manifold of compact light weight construction and recessed to provide a plurality of hypodermic needle receiving and supporting sockets, said sockets formed with inner and intermediate and outer parts, the inner parts shaped for non-contactive enclosure of the needle stems, and
the intermediate and outer parts shaped respectively for sealed seating and for non-contactive enclosure of the needle hubs, said manifold recessed also to provide a passage for conducting washing fluid to said sockets, said passage intersecting said inner socket parts at the upper extremities thereof and opening through a manifold wall and there adapted for connection to a fluid source whereby fluid supplied from said source is conducted over the stems and forced rcversely through the stems and hubs of said hypodermic needle set.
2. Apparatus for storing, transporting and cleaning a hypodermic needle set comprising a rigid integral plastic manifold of solid rectangular fiat-bottomed construction, said manifold recessed to provide a plurality of hypodermic needle receiving and supporting sockets, each said socket formed with an inner part shaped for non-contactively enclosing a needle stem and with an intermediate part shaped for sealingly seating a needle hub, said manifold recessed also to provide an inlet passage intersecting said inner socket parts at the upper extremities thereof and opening through a manifold wall and there adapted for connection to a fluid source whereby fluid supplied from said source is conducted over the stems and forced rcversely through the stems and hubs of said hypodermic needle set.
3. Apparatus for storing, transporting and cleaning a hypodermic needle set comprising in combination a solid compact light weight manifold recessed to provide a plurality of hypodermic needle receiving and supporting sockets, each said socket formed with an inner part shaped for non-contactively enclosing a needle stem and with an intermediate part shaped for sealingly seating a needle hub, said manifold recessed also to provide an inlet passage intersecting said inner socket parts at the upper extremities thereof and opening through a manifold wall and adapted there for connection to a fluid source whereby washing fluid supplied from said source is conducted over the stems and forced rcversely through the stems and hubs of said hypodermic needle set; means providing a set of fluid passages aligned with said manifold sockets and in fluid tight communication with said needle hubs and whereby to conduct away the fluid discharge from said hubs; and means for restricting the flow through said passages whereby to increase the pressure of said washing fluid.
4. Apparatus for conditioning a hypodermic needle set comprising in combination a first manifold recessed to provide a plurality of hypodermic needle receiving sockets, each said socket shaped in an inner part for enclosing a needle stem and in an intermediate part for seating a needle hub, said first manifold recessed also to provide a passage for conducting washing fluid to said sockets, said passage intersecting said inner socket parts at the upper extremities thereof and opening through a manifold wall and adapted there for connection to a fluid source whereby fluid supplied from said source is conducted over the stems and forced rcversely through the stems and hubs of said hypodermic needle set; a second manifold recessed to provide fluid passages arranged as and aligned with said first manifold sockets and said second manifold formed also for interfitting of said fluid passages with said needle hubs; and means for supporting said first and second manifolds and for manipulating them for fluid tight engagement of said second manifold passages with said needle hubs and of said hubs with said first manifold sockets and whereby the fluid discharged from said hubs is conducted away through said passages.
5. The hypodermic needle washing method which comprises accumulating and supporting a hypodermic needle set in ordered array, passing pressure fluid along and over the stems and rcversely into and through bores of said set, and accelerating and forming into flow indicating jets the fluid discharge from said bores.
6. Apparatus for conditioning a hypodermic needle set comprising a first manifold formed with a plurality of hypodermic needle receiving sockets, each said socket shaped in an inner part for non-contactively enclosing a needle stern and in an intermediate part for sealingly seating a needle hub, said manifold recessed also to provide an inlet passage intersecting said recess inner parts and adapted for connection to a fluid source, whereby fiuid supplied from said source is conducted over the stems and forced reversely through the stems and hubs of said hypodermic needle set; a second manifold recessed to provide through passages arranged as and aligned with said first manifold sockets and formed for interfitting with said hypodermic needle hubs and whereby to conduct away the fluid discharged from said hubs; nozzles at the outlets of said second manifold passages, said nozzles shaped for accelerating and forming into jet streams the fluid discharged from said passages; and means for supporting said first and second manifolds for fluid tight engagement of said second manifold passages with said hypodermic needle hubs and of said hubs with said first manifold sockets.
7. The hypodermic needle washing method which comprises accumulating and supporting a hypodermic needle set in ordered array, continuously passing washing fiuid along and over the stems and reversely into and through the bores of said set, and restricting and directing the fluid discharge from said bores to produce and maintain a predetermined pressure of the washing fluid in the bores and to indicate the continuous passage of said fluid at said pressure of said washing fluid.
References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 680,836 Birkholz Aug. 20, 1901 1,151,968 Ray Aug. 31, 1915 2,546,385 Christina Mar. 27, 1951 2,571,575 Holmes Oct. 16, 1951 2,626,624 Holderith Jan. 27, 1953 2,636,502 Buechel Oct. 13, 1953 2,655,160 Casady Oct. 13, 1953