US 2981886 A
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April 25, 1961 w. c. BECK 2,981,886
METHOD OF DETECTING SMALL HOLES IN RUBBER GLOVES Filed July 25 1958 as P INVENTOR MAL/HM c. 55
ATTORNEYS rvln'rrronon DETECTING SMALL HOLES IN RUBBER GLOVES 2 Claims. 01. 3 24-44) The invention described herein is concerned with a method and apparatus for testing the integrity of surgical ,igl'oves. x More in particular, the method and apparatus described herein'p'ermit thesurgeon or wearer of surgical gloves'to're'adily detectthe'presence of small holes within his gloves while wearing the same.
Surgical gloves, which are commonly made of rubber, plastic resin, or similar material, are worn bythe surgeon and allied personnel at all times when the risk is present of bacteria resident on the surgeons hands passing into an open surgical wound. The surgical gloves are intended to act as a barrier to such organisms. Any hole in the glove, however, even a very minute one, can permit bacteria to penetrate the glove and wander into the surgical wound. Understandably then the danger exists of allowing the integrity of the glove to reach a point where the gloves no longer serve their purpose. The need for periodic testing of the surgeons gloves has been recognized therefore and methods have been devised to safe-guard against the occurrence of holes within the gloves. But these methods have ordinarily required that the gloves be removed from the surgeons hands. For example, a simple method of filling the glove with water or air to test for leaks has been known. Such methods are time consuming and often ineffectual. Moreover, any interruption or delay in the surgical operation constitutes an annoyance to the surgeon and his assistants. As a result, a method for detecting the presence of holes in surgical gloves while the surgeon is wearing the gloves has been needed. Considering that the wearer does not discard the glove, it is highly important that the method be quick, reliable, and safe.
It is an object of the instant invention to provide a method for testing the integrity of surgical gloves while the surgeon is wearing the gloves. It is another object of the instant invention to provide such a method which is quick, reliable, and safe. Additional objects of the invention will be evident from the description of the invention following and the claims appended thereto.
According to the instant invention, surgical gloves such as those made of rubber or similar nonconductive material, can be tested by the wearer while the gloves remain on his hands by immersing the gloves in a container filled with electrolytic solution and in which an electric current is posed to pass through any holes in the gloves, resulting.
in closure of an electric circuit causing some form of indicator means to register. It is contemplated that the same container in which the surgeon washes his gloved hands can be used as part of the means for efiecting the invention. The invention provides that at some stage during the operation in surgery the surgeon wash his gloved hands in a metal bowl or a similar container of conductive material, the bowl containing a solution of salt Water or some other appropriate electrolytic solution. Surgical gloves of rubber or like material are, of course, nonconductors of electricity. Any minute hole inthe gloves, however, will permit the passage of an electric current. When an electric current is posed within the 2,981,886 Patented Apr. 25, 1961 also contemplated that an indicator means or measuring device be interposed between the solution container and the conductive flooring. Stimulation of the measuring or indicator device serves to indicate the presence of a hole or holes within the gloves. An electrical meter such as an ohm meter can be used as the indicator means. Or the indicator means can be a bell, a light, or some such arrangement.
The invention also contemplates that the surgical rgloves can be readily tested for holes while they are not being worn. For example, an electrolyte placed within the gloves serves to replace the hands of the surgeon. Thus, in a manner similar to the foregoing the gloves can be tested apartfromthe surgeon altogether.
The attached drawing will serve to better illustrate the invention. The drawing, which is merely illustrative of an embodiment of the invention and is not intended to be limitative to the disclosure herein, consists of Figures 1 and 2.
Fig. 1 illustrates the general scheme of the invention.
Fig. 2 illustrates diagrammatically a simple amplifier circuit which can be incorporated with the invention for purposes later described.
In Figure 1 it will be seen that the surgeon 1 has surgical gloves 2 on his hands. He stands before Wash basin 3. Within the wash basin is a salt solution or some such electrolytic solution 5. The wash basin rests on stand 4 and is insulated from the stand 4 by insulative medium 9. The'wash basin 3 is of conductive material, and the surgeon 1 stands on conductive flooring 8. It is to be understood that the surgeon wears conductive shoes. Connecting the conductive flooring 8 with the wash basin 3 is a conductive connection 10. Mounted along the conductive connection 10 is a metering or indicator device 7. When electric current is injected into the conductive connection 6, flowing to wash basin 3 and into electrolytic solution 5, if a hole or holes exist within the surgeon's gloves at the time he immerses the gloves within the electrolytic solution 5, the current will continue through the hole or holes into the surgeons body, through his conductive shoes, and finally close the circuit through conductive flooring 8. The closed electrical circuit is labeled as 6 in Figure 1.
It is contemplated that an electrical source such as battery 11 shown in Figure 2 can serve to provide electricity for the circuit 6 shown in Figure 1. Turning now to Figure 2, the arrangement described with Figure 1 is indicated at 12 in Figure 2. Current is supplied to the arrangement by battery 11. As shown in Figure 2, however, the arrangement 12 actually represents a possible shorting of the battery circuit 13 inducing a voltage across grid 14 and vacuum tube 15.
The vacuum tube 15 is part of a simple amplifier circuit. In addition to a shock hazard to the surgeon, there is also the hazard of sparking within the operating room. Therefore the circuit 6 which runs through the surgeon and through any hole in the surgeons gloves must be kept at a low voltage and amperage. On the other hand, the current of this circuit ordinarily must be amplified 'if it is to cause a meter or a relay for a bell or light to register. Hence the arrangement shown diagrammatically in Figure 2 is employed to eliminate these hazards and actuate an indicator device.
The purpose and structure of the arrangement in Figure 2 will be evident to one skilled in the art. In brief, ordinary 110 volt house current is available at source 16. When the switch 19 is closed, current passes through the primary windings 18 of transformer 17. Transformer 17 has secondary coils 20 and 21. The current induced in coil 20 serves to actuate pilot light 22. The current induced in the secondary coil 21 of transformer 17 occurs with a stepped-down voltage of approximately 60-70 volts and is rectified by rectifier 23 so as to provide positive direct current to the elements 24 and 25 of vacuum tube 15. Meter M is preset at zero with potentiometers 26 and 27. In operation, the balance across meter M is disturbed when the battery current in battery circuit 13 is shorted away at the arrangement 12 by the existence of holes in the surgeons gloves as previously described.
Thus current of sufiicient amperage and/ or voltage occurs at meter M to cause the meter to register.
Although the invention has been described in considerable detail with reference to certain preferred embodiments thereof, it will be understood that variations and modifications can be effected without departing from the spirit and scope of the invention as described hereinabove and as defined in the appended claims.
1. A method of testing surgical gloves for holes comprising mounting the gloves on the hands, placing the feet on a conductive surface, passing the hands into an electrolytic solution so as to immerse at least a portion of each glove therein, and applying a voltage across the conductive surface and the electrolytic solution to permit current flow through indicator means when a hole exists in the immersed portion of one of the gloves.
2. Apparatus for testing surgical gloves while worn on the hands comprising means defining an electrically .conductive surface on which the surgeon stands, means defining a container filled with electrolytic solution, means spacing the container from the conductive surface at such a distance as to permit the surgeon to immerse his gloved hands in the solution while standing on the surface, means for applying a voltage across the surface and the solution, and means for indicating current flow through the surgeon when a hole exists in the gloves.
References Cited in the file of thispatent UNITED STATES PATENTS OTHER REFERENCES Macentyre: Electrical World, March 12, 1927, page 561.