US 3354881 A
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United. States Patent 3,354,881 'HYPODERMIC NEEDLE PROTECTOR Herman .S. Bloch, Skokie,.lll., assignor to Universal .Oil Products, Company, Des Plaines, ill., a corporation of -Delaware Filed Nov. 3,.1964,-Ser. No. 408,476 8 Claims. (Cl. 128-415) ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE A hypodermic needle protector comprising a flexiblewalled tube, detachable from thersyringe-needle assembly,
having anormally extendedlconfiguration adapted to enclose the outlet tipportion of the needle. 'Eachzend of the tube is closed bya'perforable self-sealing septum/The tube contains a chemical guard medium 'such as disinfectantsolution. The needle is inserted .throu'ghione septum and, upon manual axial compression :of the tube, is forcedithrough the other septum into the subject. .When the injection is completed, the tube'resumes its normal unflexed shape, the needle withdrawing through said other septum but remaining within the .tube' immersed in the disinfectant.
This invention relates to a protector for hypodermic needles capable of protectingthem. from'moisture, dust, bacteria and other atmospheric contaminants. This device permits repetitive use of a'single'needle without further drying, sterilization'or decontamination treatments.
The protector of this invention comprises a flexiblewalled sheath, sleeve or tube of length sufficient to accommodate a hypodermic needle. The two ends of the tube are closed by perforable'flexible self-sealing septa each supported by a reinforcing shoulder. The tube has a normally straight or extended configuration but is capable of being resiliently axially compressed by hand to a deformed configuration whereby the septa are moved substantially closer together. With the tube extended, the needle, already having been-attached to a syringe, is inserted therein by puncturing one of the septa. At this time the needle has not penetrated the other septumrThe interior of the flexible tube may be filled with a chemical guard material such as a disinfectant solution, a desiccant or the like, depending on the contaminant from which protection is desired. When it is desired to use the syringe, as for administering an injection or withdrawing a sample of fluid, the other septum is placed against the surface to be penetrated and the needle is then forced through said other septum into the subject, after which the required fluid is injected by the hypodermic syringe action. During this injection the flexible walls of the tube are shortened by flexure. When the needle is withdrawn and the compressive action terminated, the flexible walls again resume their unfiexed size and the needle enters the protector, the puncture of the outer septum resealing itself because of the elastic character of its composition. Between uses the needle may be left in place within the tube immersed in the guard material.
The novel features of the invention are further explained in conjunction with the accompanying drawing and subsequent description. The drawing is illustrative or exemplary of the best mode of constructing and using the invention, but it is not intended that its broad scope be limited to the specific elements and combinations thereof shown in the drawing.
FIGURE 1 shows a hypodermic protector in its extended configuration.
FIGURE 2 shows the hypodermic protector in its deformed configuration.
FIGURE 3 illustrates one means of attaching a septum and its supporting shoulder to the tube.
FIGURE 1 shows a protector'comprisin'g a flexiblewalled tube 11. It lS.COllStI11ClZd of an elastomeric material such as natural'orisynthetic rubber, plastic and the like, so proportioned with respect to wall thickness and diameter as to bereadiIy compressible by hand along its longitudinal axisJTheends of tube 11 are formed into annularishelves or shoulders 12 of somewhat greater thicknessthan the tube Wall 'proper.'The open ends of tube 11 are closed by perforable flexible self-sealing membranes or septa 13' and 14 'which' are cemented, or otherwise appropriately sealably attached, to shoulders 12. Septa 13 and 14*are formed of a suitable elastic composition'having'self sealing properties such as natural gum rubber, synthetic butadiene-styrenfe copolymer rubber, polyisobutylene rubber, ethylene-propylene terpolymer rubber, and the like. A'hypodermic needle'15, connected to a'syringe 16, is inserted into'the protector by puncturing'inner septum13/With tube 11 extended as shown,
the tipiof needle 15 terminates somewhat short of outer septum 14. The interior of the tube may be partly or coma capsule of calcium hydride or silica .gel to prevent .at-
mospheric water vapor from entering the needle between successive samplings.
FIGURE 2 shows the protector in its stressed or deformed state during injection. Septum 14 isplaced against a surface18 to be penetrated (e.g., another septum sealing a container, or the skin of'a subject). Needle 15 is forced downwardly, such'force acting through septum 13 and upper shoulder 12 to deflect the walls .of 'tube.11 outwardly andperm'it septum113 also to advance toward septum:14. The needle is thus forced throughsepturn 14 and into the contiguous surface 18. When the needleis withdrawn and the compressive action terminated, tube 11 springs back to its original straight unfiexed shape as shown in FIGURE 1, needle 15 withdrawing through septum 14 and remaining within tube 11. The original perforation in septum 14 closes itself upon withdrawal of the needle tip, thus providing additional protection from atmospheric contamination while at the same time substantially preventing loss of the chemical guard medium.
It will be appreciated that shoulders 12 perform a threefold function: first, to reinforce and support the septa 13, 14; second, to rigidify the end portions of tube 11 so that most of the tube wall deformation is made to occur at the central portion thereof; and third, to provide a means for transmitting the compressive force delivered by the syringe and needle assembly, during injection, to the flexible wall of tube 11.
FIGURE 3 illustrates an alternate design for the reinforcing sholders. Instead of forming a shoulder integrally with the tube Wall, a fairly rigid plastic or metal ring 22 is inserted into an end of a properly sized flexible tube 21. The elastic tube wall grips the ring tightly to provide a reasonably fluid-tight seal. A perforable septum 24 is then cemented to ring 22. Alternatively, ring 22 and septum 24 may be fashioned from a single workpiece.
It is preferred that the tube length be made such that, when the tube is normally extended, it will be of greater length than the hypodermic needle used in conjunction therewith, so that the inner septum may abut flush against the head of the needle without danger of the needle accidentally puncturing the outer septum. However, it is within the scope of this invention to make the flexible walled tube somewhat shorter than the eflfective length of the hypodermic needle, the main consideration here being that at least the tip portion of the hypodermic needle be enclosed within the protector.
Other variations and alternative constructions will suggest themselves to those skilled in the art. For example, the tube may have a cross-section other than circular, e.'g., square, elliptical and the like. The septum reinforcing members may be annular shields or caps fitted about the outside of the flexible walled tube instead of inserted into the tube. In addition, the flexible portion of the tube may be provided with convolutions, as in the typical bellows construction, to provide a somewhat more flexible device while at the same time reducing the stresses set up in the tube wall during compression. The tube may further be so designed as to simultaneously accommodate more than one hypodermic needle, so that two or more operations may be conducted simultaneously.
By use of the instant protector, many operations involving the use of hypodermic syringes are simplified and made more accurate. For example, a sample of liquid for Water analysis may be drawn into the syringe and replicate portions of the same sample taken for water analysis without danger of atmospheric contamination. Similarly, a human or animal subject may be periodically injected with portions of a single syringe-fill of medicine, serum, drugs or the like with the use of a single needle, without intermediate detachment or sterilization and with no danger of contamination.
I claim as my invention:
1. A hypodermic needle protector detachable from its associated syringe and needle comprising a flexible-walled tube having a normally extended configuration adapted to enclose at least the outlet tip portion of the hypodermic needle but capable of being resiliently axially compressed by hand to a deformed configuration wherein the ends of the tube are appreciably closer together; each end of the tube including a septum supporting shoulder; and a perforable flexible self-sealing septum closing each end of the tube and supported by its respective shoulder, one of said septa being pierced by said needle when the tube is normally extended and both of the septa being completely pierced by said needle when the tube is deformed.
2. The protector of claim 1 further characterized in that each of said supporting shoulders is a relatively rigid ring inserted into an open end of the tube in tight-fitting contact with the tube wall.
3. The protector of claim 1 further characterized in that each of said supporting shoulders is integrally formed with the tube wall and consists of an annulus of greater thickness than the tube wall.
4. The protector of claim 1 further characterized in that the space within the tube is at least partly filled with a chemical guard material.
5. Fluid transfer apparatus comprising a hypodermic syringe and needle; a flexible-walled tube separate from said syringe and surrounding at least the outlet tip portion of said needle, said tube having a normally extended configuration but capable of being resiliently axially compressed by hand to a deformed configuration wherein the ends of the tube are appreciably closer together; a septum supporting shoulder at each end of the tube; a pair of perforable flexible self-sealing septa each closing an end of the tube and sealably attached to and supported by its respective shoulder; said needle piercing and extending through one of the septa and terminating short of the other septum when said tube is in its extended configuration, and said needle completely piercing and extending through both of the septa when said tube is in its deformed configuration.
6. Apparatus of claim 5 further characterized in that the space within said tube and outside said needle contains a chemical guard medium.
7. Apparatus of claim 6 wherein said chemical guard medium is a desiccant.
8. Apparatus of claim 6 wherein said chemical guard medium is a disinfectant solution.
References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,693,189 11/1954 Ryan 128-272 2,696,212 12/1954 Dunmire 1282l6 2,935,067 5/1960 Bovet l28--2l6 FOREIGN PATENTS 940,588 7/ 1947 France. 920,549 3/1963 Great Britain. 513,051 2/1955 Italy.
RICHARD A. GAUDET, Primary Examiner.
D. L. BAKER, Assistant Examiner.