US 3158875 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
1964 D. D. FLETCHER 3,158,875
INVALID STRETCHER Filed Sept. 5, 1962 5 Sheets-Sheet 1 INVENTOR DARRELL D, FLETCHER F I65 BY L M Ash/Zr; wk ea-L A TTORNE Y6 Dec. 1, 1964 D. D. FLETCHER INVALID STRETCHER 3 Sheets-Sheet 2 Filed Sept. 5, 1962 INVENTOR. DARRELL D. FLETCHER ATTORNEYS Dec. 1, 1964 D. D. FLETCHER INVALID STRETCHER .3 Sheets-Sheet 3 Filed Sept. 5, 1962 INVENTOR.
DARRELL D FLETCHER BY 2W, od JWM M16141 ATTORNEY United States Patent This invention relates to invalid stretchers, and more particularly, to stretchers for transporting invalids from hard-to-reach locations while maintaining the body of the invalid immobile and providing cover for that body.
When an injured person must be transported from one position to another, as from the location of an accident, it is desirable that the body portions of the invalid be immobilized so as to prevent further injury during the transportation. Particularly when invalids may have to be transported from relatively inaccessible locations such as the bottom of a mine shaft, a valley surrounded by steep hills, or a sewer, etc., provision must be made for holding the invalids body on the stretcher without likelihood of compounding the injuries during movement thereof. Despite the fact that the Stokes stretcher was first developed many years ago (as illustrated in Strokes Patent No. 820,026, issued May 8, 1906) that stretcher is still the one most used today for transporting and immobilizing invalids during movement. Unfortunately, the Stokes stretcher, being comprised of a relatively rigid metal frame, is bulky and cumbersome. As a result its use is somewhat limited, particularly when the invalid can be reached only through a relatively narrow opening.
By reason of these disadvantages of the Stokes stretcher, many suggestions for difierent types of stretchers have been made during the years since the Stokes stretcher was first introduced. Several of the prior art suggestions embody stretcher constructions which are no less bulky and cumbersome than the Stokes stretcher. However, it has been suggested in several prior patents that a flexible fabric, rather than a rigid metal frame, be used as the basic element of a stretcher. One such suggestion is contained in the patent to SpringenNo. 2,489,828, wherein it is suggested that support for the body of the invalid be furnished by rigid slats positioned in pockets extending longitudinally of the body of the fabric. When the Springer litter or stretcher is to be raised vertically, the load is supported by straps fastened to the fabric, and the body of the invalid is held against the fabric by other straps,
embracing various portions of the body.
The Springer type of stretcher has the advantage that the slats may be removed and the fabric rolled up into a compact package which may be readily transported from place to place. However, there are relatively few types of fabric which are strong enough to support the body of a heavy invalid in vertical movement thereof without the strong possibility of tearing of the fabric, which may result in either excessive strain on portions of the invalids body or even in separation of the invalid from the stretcher and a resultant fall of the invalid. One fabric which is sulficiently strong for this purpose is nylon, but nylon unfortunately melts under conditions of high temperatures, so that it cannot be used in stretchers which may be employed to remove an invalid from the location of a fire. Another relatively strong material which might be used in place of nylon is neoprene. While this material is fire resistant, it unfortunately is not at all porous and, where it is desired that the body of the invalid be covered to protect against shock, the invalid would be so heated during transportation on the stretcher as to make it uncomfortable if not dangerous for him.
One fabric which is not subject to the disadvantages of either neoprene or nylon is canvas, made from cotton or other equivalent material. Unfortunately, canvas is ice not sufiiciently strong to insure against tearing of the fabric during vertical transportation of the invalid.
It is an object of the present invention to combine the advantages of the use of a relatively strong material, such as nylon, with the advantages of a relatively weak but nevertheless porous material, such as canvas, in a combination such as to insure against tearing of the fabric and undue strain on the invalid. This object is achieved by providing relatively long strap members of the stronger material extending from the support means (such as a lift ring) and designed to embrace the thighs of the invalid to hold him against a fabric of relatively weaker material. Specifically, the fabric preferably has a body portion against which the back of the invalid is positioned, and the strap members are fixed to the side of the body portion opposite that against which the body is mounted, but extended through the fabric and around the thighs of the invalid where they are fixed tosuitable members such as rings. With this structure, the main or primary load support is provided for by the strap members embracing the thighs of the invalid, thereby very substantiflly decrea ing any likelihood of further injury to an invalid having one or more fractured members.
A further object of the invention is to provide an additional load supporting member, consisting of a fixed strap which may be operable to hold the patient to the stretcher if the thigh straps should fail. This object is attained by use of a strap of the relatively strong material used in the long strap members, which strap embraces the chest of the invalid in use and is supported by the main support member (eg. a metal ring) by a loop of the same material 1 Xed to said support member at both its ends and passing around the fixed strap. it will be seen that with a com bination of this fixed strap and the thigh straps joined to the support means in the manner indicated, the main support is from the thighs of the victim, but a secondary support from the chest of the victim is also provided for.
A further object of the present invention is to provide for immobilization of all of the body members of the invalid, and particularly to provide a splinting effect on the feet of the invalid, as well as the other body portions. It has been suggested in other prior art patents that a foot support be provided. Such suggestions have included the use of a fabric pouch on a fabric stretcher (e.g. in Finken Patent No. 2,899,692) and a rigid block against which the soles of the invalids feet may be positioned (as in e.g. Mahan Patent No. 776,773). However, it is not suficient merely to support the soles of the patients or invalids feet, but rather it is also important that the feet be held against lateral movement with respect to the stretcher. Otherwise, fractured bones in the feet might be adversely aifected by movement of the stretcher.
It is an object of this invention to provide for complete immobilization of the feet of the invalid, by a foot support combined with means for maintaining the feet of the invalid fixed in position against lateral movement. This objective is achieved through use of afoot-support portion of the fabric which is positionable at right angles to the body-support portion thereof, and which has strap means for embracing the insteps of the invalids feet and holding them against movement. More specifically, the foot-support portion of the fabric has pockets within which slats extend to an adjustable depth to provide for different heights of invalids, and strap members are fixed to one of the foot support and body support portions and fixable to the other thereof so as to hold the foot supprt portion at right angles with respect to the body portion.
It is a further object of the invention to provide for complete coverage of the invalid as well as for complete immobilization thereof. This objective is achieved by providing the fabric with a head-support portion and a hood 3 extending therefrom and operable to cover the front. and sides of the invalids head, as well as by providing side extensions or flaps which may be folded over the invalids body and which contain immobilizing slats in longitudinally extending pockets.
The invention will now be more fully described in conjunction with drawings showing a preferred embodiment thereof. I
a In the drawings FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the stretcher with the side extensions and the hood covering the body of the invalid, and the stretcher supported from a vertical lift line;
FIG. 2 is aplan view of the stretcher lying flat, from the upper or load supporting side thereof;
FIG. 3 is a plan view similar to FIG. 2 but taken from the opposite or lower side;
FIG. 4 isadiagram-matic View showing the arrangement of the slats in pockets in the stretcher fabric; and,
FIG. 5 isa perspective view showing an invalid on the stretcher but with the side-flaps and hood away from the body of the invalid.
Referring first to FIG. 2, the stretcher of they invention is comprised of. a fabric which is suitably of cotton duck canvas, or the like. The canvas is appropriately treated so as to be mildew. proof and, fire resistant.
The fabric includes a body-support portion 11, a footsupport portion 12 and a head-support portion 13. The fabric also includes side extensions or flaps 14, and 15 which are designed to be folded around the body of the invalid and a hood 16 which embraces the sides and front of the. patients head, when in use. The body-support portion 11 hasfa plurality of longitudinally-extending parallel pockets 17 within which rigid slats 18 are positioned. These slats are suitably of plywood but may also. beof some light metal. such as aluminum. The pockets 17 are preferably open at at least one end to allow removal of the slats ,so that the stretcher may be folded up into a relatively small package.
The pockets 17 may be formed between upper and lower plies of canvas 19A and 19B, respectively, stitched together at appropriate locations adjacent the slats indicated in the drawings, and reinforced and stitched toof the body-support portion and the strap members 21 and 22 extend through these slots to the upper side 19A of the fabric. The remote ends of the strap members are. designed to be fixed in position by D-ring clamps 25 and 26ffwhich are mounted at the opposite ends of a strap 27 stitched within the plies of the fabric. As is conventional, the clamps consist of a pair of D-rings having their inner or fiat portions fixed to the ends of the strap 27. The straps 21. and 22 may then be passed through both rings of the clamps 25 and 26 and each looped back over one and through the other ring to embrace the thighs of the invalid, and hold them against The chest strap 39 extends between the plies 19A and 19B of the fabric where it is stitched thereto, and passes out of the fabric through passages 31 and 32. One
4 end of the strap 3% has a pair of D-rings forming a clamp 33 fixed thereto, and the other end is designed to be clamped by the rings to embrace the chest of the invalid and hold the chest against the upper ply 19A of the fabric.
The strap 36 is also supported from the rift ring 20, by another strong strap member 34 which is fixed at, each of its ends to the lift ring and is then looped downwardly and over and around the strap 39. The strap member 34 is desirably of the same material as the members 21 and 22 (preferably nylon), and is stitched to the rear ply 19B of the fabric. The combination of the strap member 3d,.thestrap 34 and the lift ring 20 provide a secondary load support for the body of the invalid, as well as providing for. maintaining the. chest and upper backv of the invalid against the fabric.
For use in distributing the compressive force against the chest of the invalid provided by the strap 30 when in its operative position, a pad .35 is desirably secured on the chesteernbracing portion of the strap.
The foot-supporting portion 12 of the fabric. constitutes an extension thereof which lies in the same plane as the fabric except when it is prepared for use in supporting the invalid. It is then necessary to adjust that portion to be substantially at right angles. to. the body-support portion 11, and this action is provided for by a pair of strap members 37 and.38. fixed together. at one set. of ends to the upper ply 19A of the fabric, in thebodysupport portion thereof. The other ends of the straps 37 and 38 are designed to beclampedto the'footsupport portion 12 by D-ringclamp members 39 and 49 secured to the rear ply 19B in the foot-support portion thereof. It will of course be apparent that the fixed. ends of the straps 37 and 38 could. as well be attached to the foot-support portion 12, and the D-ring clamps39 and 40 attached to the body-support portion 11.
The foot-supportportion 12 of the stretcher isrendered rigid by slats shown in FIG. 4 and preferably comprising a pair of legs 41 and 42 extending outwardly from .a base 43. For convenience in storage of the foot-support slats, they may be constructed of two separate parts hinged together as at 44. The slats41 and 42 extend into pockets between the plies 19A and 19B of the footsupport portion 12, these pockets being longitudinal of the foot-support portion but of length greater than the lengths of legs 41 and 42.' Then, the slats 41 and 42 can be positioned in their pockets to an adjustable extent to allow for control of the position of the rigid foot sup--.
port in accordance with the height of the invalid.
As indicated above, it is important that the feetof the invalid be restrained against lateral movement, as well as against longitudinal movement," in order to prevent further injury resultant from leg and feet fractures; Such lateral restraint is furnishedby straps 45 and (FIG 2) each having onejend fixed to the upper ply 19A of the foot-support portion 12.015 the stretcher. The other ends of the straps 45 and 46 are to be clamped to the upper ply 19A by 'D-ring clamps 47 and 48 which are likewise fixed to the upper ply 19A- When in use the straps 46 embrace the insteps of the invalids feet to hold those feet against lateral movement.
The stretcher. is also providedwith additionalstrap members for holding other partsof the invalids body against the upper ply 12A. of the fabric stretcher. These straps, include a long strap member 50'.fixed at. 5 1 and 52 (as by stitching) to the upper ply 19A of the fabric and having freeends designed to be clamped by D-ring clamps 53 and 54 fixed to the upper ply 19A-outwardly of the points 51 and 52. When in use-the strap. 50'is designed to embrace both of thelower legs of the invalid and hold them against the stretcher. Further, straps 55 and 56 are'prov-ided to hold the shoulders of the invalid against the upper 'ply:of the stretcher. These straps are. respectively fixed (as by stitching) to the upper ply 19A in the body-support upper ply 19A of the portion of the stretcher, at points 57 and 58. Their free ends are designed to be clamped by D-ring clamps 59 and 6% respectively secured to the free ends of strap members 61 and 62. The straps s1 and 62 have their other ends fixed to the upper ply 19A of the head-support portion 13 of the stretcher, so that the combination of straps 55 and 61, and 56 and 52 embrace the shoulders of the invalid and hold them against the fabric stretcher when in use.
In order that the head of the invalid may be held against the head-support portion 13, a pad 55 is fixed against that portion and has flap portions 66 and 67 ex tending outwardly therefrom. A strap 68 is fixed at one end to the flap extension 66 and a D-ring clamp 69 is fixed to the other flap extension 67. When an invalid is positioned on the stretcher, the strap 63 is fixed by the clamp 69 so as to hold the pad 65' around the sides of the invalids head and thereby hold that head against the stretcher. As indicated above, the hood 16 is designed to be folded around the sides and face of the invalids head and is therefore provided with snap fasteners generally indicated at 79 and 71, along its outer portions. Thereby, when it is desired to completely cover the body of the invalid, as to prevent the incidence of shock, the snap fasteners 79 and 71 may be fixed together to hold the hood around the invalids face.
It was indicated above that the body-support portion 11 of the fabric is provided with side extensions 14 and 15. These portions, like the main body-support portion 11, are provided with pockets in which rigid slats '75 extend. Thereby, when the extensions 14 and 15 are wrapped around the body of the invalid, not only is that body completely covered by the stretcher, but also the front portion of the body is protected against any injury which might be caused during transportation of the invalid, and further is rendered completely immobile. In order that the extensions 14 and 15 may be fixed together, the lower ply 19B thereof is provided with a plurality of spaced straps and D-ring clamp combinations generally shown in FIG. 1 at 80.
The stretcher of the invention is designed for carriage in a plurality of Ways. For instance, the stretcher alone, or the stretcher carrying an invalid may be supported by hand straps 81 fixed at their opposite ends to the extensions 14 and 15 of the fabric. Also, a lift harness 32 supported from lift rings 83 and 84, as Well as by main support ling 29, may be employed to raise the stretcher and contents.
To provide for extra comfort of the invalid during transportation on the stetcher, the upper ply 19A of the fabric may also be provided with a pad 85' positioned to support the upper back of the invalid, and with a pad 86 positioned to support the invalids neck.
It will be understood from the above that when the invalid is strapped against the fabric stretcher as shown in FIG. 5, and particularly when the extensions 14 and 15 are folded around to embrace the body of the invalid, with all slats in place, the stretcher functions to completely immobilize the main body members and protect the body against all external influences. Nevertheless, when it is necessary to X-ray the invalid on the stretcher, the various straps may be released and moved away from the body and, because of the placement of all metal parts, there will be no interference with the taking of such X-rays.
it will be evident that for carriage of the stretcher when an invalid is not positioned thereon, the slats may be removed from the stretcher and will form a compact bundle which can be positioned with the fabric stretcher in an appropriate canvas carrying bag. VJith plywood slats, a stretcher has been constructed in accordance with the invention to be as light as 29 pounds. That weight of course could be reduced considerably by the use of plastic or aluminum slats.
It will be evident that many minor changes could be made in the construction of the stretcher of the invention. The invention is therefore not to be considered limited to the preferred embodiment described hereinabove, but rather only by the scope of the appended claims.
1. An invalid stretcher comprising a fabric body portion for supporting the back of the invalid,
a foot-support fabric portion positionable substantially at right angles to the body portion and attached thereto to support the invalids feet, said fabric foot-support portion having at least one pocket extending longitudinally thereof and a rigid slat movable in said pocket to adjust the position of the foot support for invalids of different height,
and means for maintaining the invalids feet immobile on said foot-support portion.
2. The apparatus of claim 1 in which said fabric footsupport portion has a pair of pockets extending longitudinally thereof,
and said slat has a base portion and a pair of outstanding leg portions movable into and out of said pockets to adjust the position of said foot-support portion for invalids of different height.
3. The apparatus of claim 1 in which said maintaining means comprises a pair of straps each fixed at one end to said foot-support portion and fixable at its other end thereto at a position with respect to said one end such as to hold one of the invalids feet immobile on said foot-support portion.
4. An invalid stretcher comprising a long fabric forming a body-support portion for the back of the invalid and an extension thereof forming a foot-support portion, said body-support portion having a plurality of parallel longitudinally-extending pockets therein and said foot-support portion having a pair of parallel longitudinally-extending pockets therein,
a corresponding plurality of substantially rigid body slats of length corresponding to and positionable in the pockets in said body portion,
a supporting member for said foot-support portion having a base and a pair of parallel legs of lengths shorter than the lengths of the pockets in said footsupport portion, said supporting member being positionable with its legs extending into the pockets of said foot-support portion to a selectable extent to adjust the position of the foot support for invalids of different height,
a pair of straps each having one end fixed to the bodysupport portion of said fabric,
clamps fixed near the end of said foot-support portion of said fabric to receive and hold the other ends of said pair of straps to hold the foot-support portionsubstantially at right angles to the body-support portion,
and means for maintaining the invalids feet immobile on said foot-support portion.
5. The apparatus of claim 4 including straps and clamps for holding other portions of the invalids body against the body-support portion of the fabric.
6. The apparatus of claim 5 in which said maintaining means comprises a second pair of straps fixed each at one end to said foot-support portion,
and a second set of clamps fixed to said foot-support portion but spaced laterally of said one ends of said second pair of strays, said second set of clamps being operable to receive and hold the other ends of said second pair of straps to hold the insteps of the invalids feet immobile with respect to said footsupport portion.
7. The apparatus of claim 6 in which said fabric further includes side extensions from each side of said body portion of width and length sufiicient that when folded over the body of aninvalid; they completely cover it,
said'sideextensions also having parallel longitudinallyextend'irng pockets therein and-substantially rigid slats in such pockets,
and means for fastening said side extensions to each other, so that the stretcher may function as 'a splint to render the body of the invalid immobile and as a cover for the body.
'8. The apparatus-of claim 7 in which said fabric has a headextens-ion at theopposite-endfrom'said foot-support portion, 'for supporting the-head of the invalid;
and-means-for holding the head ofthe invalid immobile on said head extension. '9. The apparatus of claiin S in which said holding means includes a strap fixedat one end to-one portion of said head extension'and fixable at its other end to,a laterally-spaced portion of said-head extension to holdthe invalids head against the head extens'ion.
10.- Theapparatus of claim 9 in which said fabric further includes a hood extension from said head extension operable to cover the front and sides of the invalids head.
11. An invalid stretcher comprising a long fabric-forming a body-support portion for the back of an invalid'and having a plurality of parallel longitudinally-extending pockets therein,
a corresponding plurality of substantially rigid slats of lengthcorrespondingtoi and positionable in the pockets' of said'bo'dy portion,
support means attached to the rear side ofsaid fabric adjacent the head end thereof,
at least a pair of long strap members of material much stronger than said fabric fixed'to said support means andjextending along the. length ofsaid rear side of the fabric and fixed thereto, said strap members extending through the fabric from the rear to the front side thereof at; adjacentpoints corresponding to the positions ofthe inner thighs of the invalid when on the stretcher,
and clamps .fixed to the fabric at points corresponding to the positions of the outer thighs of the invalid when-on the stretcher and'operable to receive and hold-the ends of said strap members so that the strap members embrace the thighs of the invalid, whereby when an invalid is supported on the stretcher from said support means, the weight of the invalid is primarily supported by said straps. 12. The apparatus of claim 11 in which saidfabric is of canvas and-said straps are of nylon. 13.- The apparatus of claim 11 including a plurality of strap means respectively operable to hold the legs,- chest and shoulders of the invalid on the body-support portion of the fabric.
14. The apparatus of claim 13 in which said strap meansfor the chest of the invalid includes a chest strap of the same material as said long strap members and and a further strap member of the same material as a said long strap member fixed at each of its ends to said support means and looped around the back portionof said chest strap to form a secondary weight support for the invalid.
15. The apparatus of claim 14 in which said fabric further includes a head extension for supporting the head of the invalid,
a hood extension-from said head extension operable to cover the front and sides of the invalids head, and side extensions from each side of said body-support portion of width and length'suflicient that when folded over the body of an invalid, they complete ly cover it,
saidside extensions also having'parallel longitudinally- References Cited in the file of this patent UNITED STATES PATENTS 455,778 Tell July 14,1891 2,033,779 Monk Mar. I0;- 1936 2,489,828 Springer Nov. 29,1949 2,788,530 Ferguson Apr. 16, 1957