US 3545433 A
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
Unlted States Patent  Inventor Paul C. Horn FOREIGN PATENTS Jflckmvilleflorida a Terra, 16,014 8/1912 France 128/139 Lakeland, 11133803) 659,084 1/1929 France 128/3 1 11 pp 675,974 115,190 2/1896 Germany 128/11 Flled d 741,684 12/1955 Great Britain 296/91  Patents Primary Examiner-Richard A. Gaudet Assistant Examiner-Kyle L. Howell Attorneys-George H. Baldwin and Arthur G, Yeager  PROTECTIVE DEVICE FOR TONGUE g z Figs ABSTRACT: A protective device for use with a tongue depressor compnsmg a transparent deflector closely ad acent  US. Cl 128/15, to and generally covering the mouth clf a patient The deflec 128/139 tor is of a size and shape to protect the: examiner from droplet  InLCI ..A6lb 13/00 contamination emanating f the patients mouth during  Field of Search 128/15, 16, visual examination An elongated handle supports the lower 21, 3, 10,1120, Y)i portion of the deflector and an elongated member is con- 2/2-5 nected to the handle and extends therebelow and includes a ortion which is arallel to and s aced from the handle and  References Cited Forming a slot for the reception f a tongue depressor. The UNITED STATES PATENTS vertical dimension of the slot is less than the tongue depressor 856,257 6/ 1907 Hill 128/15 thickness frictionally and releaseably maintaining the depresl,509,041 9/1924 Hyams 128/11 sor within the slot. The handle is provided with a cutout por- 1,671,342 5/1928 Cantor 128/ 139 tion above the member portion to accommodate the middle 1,908,010 5/1933 Cameron 128/ 16 Eager of the examiner and provide an area of finger contact of 2,222,167 11/1940 Brandenburg.... l28/139X e tongue depressor to restrain relative movement between 3,153,267 10/1964 Rowland, Jr 128/ 16 the depressor and the handle.
PATENTEDUEC 8197B 45' FHGA INVENTOR.
P u 0. Horn ATTORNEY PROTECTIVE DEVICE FOR TONGUE DEPRESSORS SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to a diagnostic device for use with a tongue depressor during visual examination by an examiner of a patient t mouth and throat. More particularly, the invention pertains to a transparent protective shield or deflector for use with a tongue depressor to protect the examiner from droplet contamination emanating from a patients mouth during visual examination of the patients mouth and throat by the examiner.
In general. the invention hereinbelow disclosed provides a protective diagnostic device for use with a tongue depressor during visual examination by an examiner of a patients mouth and throat. The protective device comprises in combination a generally vertical transparent deflector for placement closely adjacent to and generally covering the open mouth of a patient The deflector is of such size and shape as to protect the examiner from droplet contamination emanating from the patients mouth during visual examination of the patients mouth and throat by the examiner. The combination further includes holding means associated with the deflector for releaseably attaching the tongue depressor to the protective device.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS The novel features which are believed to be characteristic of this invention are set forth with particularity in the appended claims. The invention itself, however. may best be understood by reference to the following description taken in connection with the accompanying drawing, in which:
FIG. 1 is a perspective view showing the improved protective shield for a tongue depressor of this invention in combination with a tongue depressor;
FIG. 2 is a side elevational view showing the combination of FIG. 1 in use;
FIG. 3 is an enlarged, partial side elevational view of the combination as shown in FIG. 1;
FIG. 4 is a partial rross-sectional view taken along line 4-4 of FIG 3. and
FIG. 5 is a side elevational view showing another embodiment of the protective shield for a tongue depressor of this invention in combination with a tongue depressor.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION Referring to the drawing in detail now lid in particular to FIG. 1 thereof, the improved protective shield for a tongue depressor of this invention is seen to include a handle portion 12, a tongue depressor receiving and holding portion 14 and a deflector or shield portion 16 all of which are integral and formed from a single piece of material. The shield or protector I6 may also be referred to as a visual screen," as it is the portion of the device through which the operator thereof (such as a doctor. nurse or the like, whose thumb and fingers of the left hand are shown in dashed line configuration at 18 in FIGS. 2 and 4). looks into the mouth and oropharynx of the person 20 being examined. The tongue depressor 22 used in combination with the protective shield of this invention is a conventional tongue depressor which is readily available and widely marketed.
The handle portion I2 includes an elongated flat member 24 of a length sufficiently long such that the same can be readily clasped by at least two or three fingers of the hand of the user thereof. and of a width generally corresponding to the width of tongue depressor 22 with which the protective device I0 is used. The rear or outer end 26 of member 24 is rounded to correspond to the rounded end 28 of the conventional tonguc depressor 22 Member 24 is further provided with a cutout portion at 30 which is shaped to fit the thumb or finger to permit easy and ready insertion, removal or positioning of the tongue depressor 22 within the protective holder 10. The member 24 is additionally beveled adjacent to and above the inner edge of cutout 30 as at reference numeral 32.
The tongue depressor receiving and bolder portion 14 of the device includes an elongated flat member 34 having a width approximately equal to the width of the conventional tongue depressor 22. The length of member 34 is somewhat shorter than the length of member 24, but yet: long enough to secure the tongue depressor 22 within the device. Member 34 is connected to member 24 by a curved jointing section 36 which extends therebetween. Member 34 is so attached to member 24 that an opening or slot 38 exists therebetween. The opening 38 is of sufficient dimension to readily accommodate the thickness of conventional tongue depressor 22 such that the same may be easily and readily slipped into the opening 38, and properly positioned between members 24 and 34 upon slight flexing of section 36 and separation of member 34 from member 24. Connecting section 36 is flexible enough to permit members 24 and 34 to be slightly separated away from each other, yet stiff enough to permit the tongue depressor 22 to be engaged by the inner surfaces of members 24 and 34 and be frictionally held therebetween within slot or opening 38. While the holding arrangement for tongue depressor 22, depicted in the embodiment of FIGS. 1-4, is of a slip-on arrangement, other types of arrangements for holding the device 10 on the tongue depressor 22 could be provided and used if so desired, such as snap-on, clamp-on, or other frictional type arrangements.
The deflector portion 16 of the tongue depressor protective holder of this invention includes a protective shield or "visual screen" member 40 which is held in a generally perpendicular position with respect to the plane of the tongue depressor 22. The deflector 40 is of a transparent material such that the user or operator of the device can look through the same and into the mouth and throat of the patient 20 being examined, see FIG. 2. Deflector 40, by virtue of its transparency, permits the visual inspection of the patients mouth. and throat, while protecting the operator or user of the device from possible contamination emanating from the droplets exhaled by and coming from the mouth and throat of the patient 20. That is to say, that the deflector 40 acts as a shield and deflects backward and downward the droplets and contamination coming from the mouth of the patient which would otherwise present a health hazard to the person examining the mouth and throat of the patient. The screen or shield 40 should be of such size and have a large enough area to give the inspector using the device a suitable measure or zone of protection from contamination. although not so large as to interfere. such as by obstruction from the nose, with the examination and inspection of the mouth and throat of the patient. In one particular embodiment of the invention, shield or deflector 40 of the device 10 was formed in the shape of an ellipse having a transverse axis of about 3 inches and a conjugate axis of approximately 2 inches. A deflector of this size and area was found sufficient to provide a suitable zone of protection for the face of the examiner to protect the same from droplet contamination when the deflector was used in connection with an adult patient and held approximately three-fourths inches from the open mouth of the patient and the examiner was at a convenient distance from the deflector of approximately l5 inches. While the shape of shield 40, as shown in the embodiment of the invention depicted in FIGS. 1-4, is that of an oval or ellipse, other shapes could be used if so desired, such :as circular, triangular, multiangular, or combinations thereof. Shield 40 is connected to the handle portion 12 of the device by means of a curved connecting section 42 extending between members 24 and 40 such as to give a smooth streamlined overall appearance to the device 10.
With particular reference to FIG. 5 now. the protective shield for a tongue depressor 44, depicted therein, includes a handle portion 46, a tongue depressor receiving and holding portion 48 and a protective shield or deflector portion 50, all of which are interconnected and which are similar to like portions of protective shield 10 in the embodiment depicted in FIGS. 1-4. Protective holder 44 is intended to receive and securely hold a conventional tongue depressor 52 for use and aid in the visual inspection of the mouth and throat of a patient. The deflector or shield 50 of FIG. 5 is different from the deflector 40 of FIG. 1 in that the visual screen of deflector 50 is shaped such that its surfaces 54 and 56 are convex such as to form a magnifying lens, while the sides 58 and 60 of the deflector 40 are flat or parallel to each other. By forming the visual screen of deflector 50 (FIG. 5) in the fonn of a magnifying lens, the operator or user of protective holder 44 is able to perform a much more thorough and complete examination of the patients mouth and throat than would be possible by the unaided eye or with the use of protective holder (FIG. 1), whose deflector 40 has a flat visual screen." The visual screen of deflector 50 could be formed with its sides 54 and 56 assuming a concave arrangement if the use of such a protective shield for a tongue depressor would be desired.
The protective shield holder for a tongue depressor of this invention (10, 44) can be made to be disposable, or it can be made to be sterilizable either by cold sterilization or by sterilization in an autoclave, depending on the particular choice of material from which the device is constructed. In addition the deflector (40, 50) of the device can be specially coated and/or treated to prevent fogging of the same when the device is in use. A product marketed under the trademark Kleer Fog and prepared by Winters Chemical Laboratories, Reading, Pennsylvania, 19603, is an example of a prior art coating material that can be used for this purpose, which product was obtainable on the market prior to the filing of this application.
To use the protective shield 10 of this invention, the same is first positioned on and attached to a conventional tongue depressor 22. This being accomplished by placing depressor 22 within slot 38 between members 24 and 34 such that it is frictionally held therein by the inner surfaces of members 24 and'34rDepressor 22 is additionally positioned such that its rearward end 28 is in alignment with the rearward end 26 of the device 10. Now the combination of the protective device 10 and depressor 22 is ready for use and the same may be employed as depicted in FIG. 2. The combination is grasped by the user thereof with the thumb and forefingers of his left hand (this being the usual procedure for a normally right-handed person) and held in the position as indicated in FIG. 2, with the depressor-22 in the patient's mouth and the deflector 40 from inch to lzinclies in front of the patients mouth, during the inspection and examination of the patients mouth and throat. When the combination of the protective shield 10 and the depressor22 is properly held in the left hand of the examiner (as depicted in FIG. 2), portions of the middle finger touch and rest upon the top and side of the depressor 22 within and adjacent cutout portion to aid in holding the depressor within the protective shield and to prevent lateral movement of the depressor within the shield. in this manner, the operator or user of the combination is protected from droplet contamination coming from the patients throat and mouth. Once the examination is completed the combination is removed from the patients mouth, the depressor 22 is removed from the protective holder 10 and disposed of, and the protective shield 10 is prepared for another and later use.
While only certain preferred embodiments of this invention have been shown and described by way of illustration, many modifications will occur to those skilled in the art and it is intended that all such modifications be included within the true spirit and scope ofthis invention.
1. A protective diagnostic device for protecting a human examiner from droplet contamination emanating from a human patients mouth during visual examination of a patients mouth and throat by an examiner comprising in combination a flat tongue depressor and a generally vertical transparent deflector having an area of approximately 5 square inches and being adapted forplacement closely adjacent to and in a position generally covering a Wid open mouth of a normal adult human patient, holding n'ie ans associated with and disposed below said deflector releaseably attaching said protective device to said tongue depressor, said holding mean means including a handle connected to the lower portion of said deflector and extending rearwardly therefrom, a member connected to said handle and extending therebelow, a said member having a frictional engaging portion generally parallel to and spaced from said handle and forming a deep U-shaped slot therebetween for the reception of said tongue depressor therein, said slot having a predetermined vertical dimension of less than the thickness of said tongue depressor whereby said tongue depressor is frictionally maintained within said slot between said handle and said frictional engaging portion.
2. The protective diagnostic device as defined in claim 1 wherein a said depressor is located below said deflector and extends generally perpendicularly thereto with the forward tongue depressing end of said depressor terminating at a position forwardly of and spaced substantially from said deflector.
3. A protective diagnostic device for protecting a human examiner from droplet contamination emanating from a human patients mouth during visual examination of a patients mouth and throat by an examiner comprising in combination a generally vertical transparent deflector adapted for placement closely adjacent to and in a position generally covering a wide open mouth of a normal adult human patient, and holding means associated with and disposed below said deflector for releaseably attaching said protective device to a detachable tongue depressor, said holding means including a handle connected to the lower portion of. said deflector and extending rearwardly therefrom, a member connected to said handle and extending therebelow, said member having a frictional engag ing portion generally parallel to and spaced from said handle and forming a slot therebetween for the reception of a tongue depressor therein, said handle further including a cutout portion between its ends and above said member portion, said cutout portion defining a finger receiving portion and adapted to provide an area-of contact between a tongue depressor and a finger of an examiner when a tongue depressor is disposed in said slot whereby movement of a tongue depressor within said slot is minimized during use thereby by an examiner.
4. The protective diagnostic device as defined in claim 3 further comprising an elongated and planar tongue depressor frictionally engaged by and between said handle and said member within said slot, said depressor being located below said deflector and extending generally perpendicularly thereto with the forward tongue depressing end of said depressor terminating at a position forwardly of and spaced substantially from said deflector and the rearward end of said depressor terminating spaced rearwardly of said deflector.
5. A protective diagnostic device for protecting a human examiner from droplet contamination emanating from a human patient's mouth during visual examination of a patient's mouth and throat by an examiner comprising in combination a generally vertical transparent deflector adapted for placement closely adjacent to and in a position generally covering a wide open mouth of a normal adult human patient, and holding means including a generally horizontal elongated handle having front and rear end portions, said deflector being connected adjacent its lower portion to said handle adjacent its front end portion, an elongated member connected to said handle between said front and rear end portions and extending therebelow, said member having a portion generally parallel to and spaced from said handle and forming a slot therebetween for the reception of a tongue depressor, said rear end portion of said handle being adapted to be positioned closely adjacent an end portion of a tongue depressor, said rear end portion of said handle being adapted and arranged to be contacted by an index finger of an examiner and an examiners thumb being adapted and arranged to contact an end portion of a tongue depressor thereby restraining relative movement between said handle and a tongue depressor, said handle having a cutout portion defining a finger receiving portion between said front and rear end portions and above said elongated member adapted to accommodate a middle finger 3,545 ;433" I s i 6 of an examiner and adapted to provide an area of contact aminer thereby further restraining relative movement between between a tongue depressor and a middle finger of an exatongue depressor and said handle.