US 3574871 A
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United States Patent  inventor WilliamLGreene 419 29th St., Beaumont, Tex. 77707  Appl.No. 771,477  Filed 0ct.29, 1968  Patented Apr-.13, 1971  SAFETYLITTER 14 Claims, 9 Drawing Figs.
 U.S.Cl 1. 5/82 5/8l,  1nt.C1 A61g7/10, A6lg1/02  FieldofSearch 5/81,82; 128/83  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 2,361,328 10/1944 Springer 5/82 3,066,320 12/1962 Russell 5/82 3,111,687 11/1963 Sacks 5/82 3,125,766 3/1964 Halpem 5/82 3,396,414 8/1968 Niveau 5/82X Primary Examiner-Casmir A. Nunberg Attorneys-Jack W. Hayden and Richard E. Bee
ABSTRACT: A litter for lifting and supporting an injured person in substantially the position in which he is found comprising a pair of longitudinally extending complementary main frame members which are detachably connected together at each end to facilitate positioning the main frame members under the person by moving them laterally together from opposite sides of his body so as to connect the ends of the frames. The main frame includes central portions disposed in a longitudinal plane with elevated end portions for supporting the persons head and feet. The litter also includes U-shaped brackets, curved in an are from the longitudinal plane of the central portion to the plane of the elevated portion which brackets can easily be slipped under a prostrate persons head to support his head and neck in their respective relative positions when the injured person is placed on the litter and when he is subsequently moved about from place to place. Further, the litter of the present invention does not interfere with taking X-rays of the head, neck and spine of a person on the litter.
Patented A ril 13, 1971 1 3,574,871
3 Sheets-Shoat z W////am L Greene INVENTOR Magda pin! Willow Maflhwl JTTORNE YS Patentd' April 13, 1911 3 Shins-Shoat 3 W////am L 6/98/79 INVEN TOR Magda willow & Malll'ewl JTTORNE YS SAFETY LITTER BACKGROUN D OF TH E INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention This invention relates to stretchers or litters and more particularly to litters which may be separated in component parts to facilitate positioning the litter under an injured person who is prostrate with minimum movement of his head, neck and spine.
2. Description of the Prior Art The prior art such as disclosed in Robinson, U.S. Pat. No. 2,417,378 and in Halperin, US. Pat. No. 3,125,766 illustrate splint-stretchers having a frame formed of two longitudinally extending members which are pivotally connected together at the end on which the person's head rests and which provide a canvas or cloth sling which is fitted on the end of the frame for supporting the injured person's head. With either of these devices, the injured person's head must be lifted in order to place it on the canvas sling.
Other prior art patents such as Melzer, U.S. Pat. No. 1,795,435 and Austin, U.S. Pat. No. 1,557,647 disclose devices which comprise separable elements which may be connected together to form a stretcher. The Melzer device is formed of sheet metal which would interfere with the taking of X-rays of a person positioned on such stretcher and the Austin device is separated longitudinally rather than laterally and would then require that the patient be bodily lifted and placed onto the stretcher.
The Smith U.S. Pat. No. 2,614,266 discloses a stretcher comprising a plurality of flat metal strips which may be slipped under a persons body from one side to the other and then affixed to a tubular frame to facilitate placing him on the stretcher, but provides no means to thereafter retain the person in a fixed or immobile position. Another prior device of interest is the stretcher of Atwood, U.S. Pat. No. 2,503,314 which illustrates a separable stretcher device comprising a pair of longitudinally extending wedge-shaped members which are adapted to be joined together to form longitudinally extending V-shaped depression or trough for receiving an injured person.
All of the above are examples of separable stretchers or stretchers made of component parts which may be used for supporting an injured person; however, all of the various litters or stretchers in the prior art subject the injured person to movement either while he is being placed in the stretcher or thereafter.
The instances in which a person's injuries are aggravated or in which new injuries are inflicted are so frequent that the caveat against the untrained moving the injured is widely accepted. Even when adequately skilled medical help is available, present equipment and techniques for picking up the injured subject parts of the body to movement relative to adjacent parts of the body. This is particularly true with regard to the head and neck, and, of course, it is particularly dangerous.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The apparatus of the present invention provides a safety litter which can easily be manipulated by persons trained or untrained in medicine and first aid so as to place the litter under an injured person without disturbing the posture in which the injured person was found.
It is an object of the present invention to provide a new and improved litter for picking up an injured person wherein the person may be positioned on the litter without substantially disturbing the injured person's position and wherein the litter comprises a pair of separable complementary members having an end portion elevated above the plane of the central longitudinal portion and having curved U-shaped bracket members extending from the central portion to the elevated end portion for receiving and supporting the head of an injured person.
It is also an object of the present invention to provide a new and improved litter apparatus for picking up an injured person and supporting him in a substantially immobile position, particularly his head and neck, while the litter is being moved in either a horizontal position or when the litter is tilted into a vertical position for lifting the injured person vertically through an opening such as a ships hold.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. I is a perspective view of the safety litter apparatus of the present invention showing a person lying thereon;
FIG. 2 is a plan view showing the separable main frame members of the apparatus of the present invention separated and positioned at the sides of a person shown in a reclining position therebetween;
FIG. 3 is an enlarged sectional view showing details of construction of the apparatus of the present invention;
FIG. 4 is an end view of the safety litter of the present invention showing the portion which supports the head of a person reclining thereon;
FIG. 5 is a perspective view of the apparatus of the present invention with a person shown reclining thereon with flexible strap means for securing the person to the safety litter so as to render his body substantially immobile for vertical lifting;
FIG. 5a is a view taken on long Sa-Sa of FIG. 5 showing other details of construction of the litter apparatus of the present invention;
FIG. 6 is a perspective view showing a person strapped on a litter apparatus of the present invention with a harness for lifting the litter in a horizontal position;
FIG. 7 is a perspective view showing a person strapped on a litter apparatus of the present invention with a harness for lifting the litter in a vertical position; and
FIG. 8 is an enlarged perspective view of the apparatus showing the structure for supporting a persons head.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Briefly, the apparatus of the present invention comprises a pair of complementary main frame members M having releasable couplings R at each end for securing such frame members together to form a unitary safety litter designated generally L in FIG. 1 of the drawings.
Each of such main frame members M comprises a longitudinally extending central tubular portion 12 which extends longitudinally beneath the shoulders S, back B, and thighs T, and calves C of a person P reclining thereon. When such main frame members M are joined together, the central portions I2 are laterally spaced apart and form a longitudinal plane.
As shown in FIGS. 1 and 8 of the drawings, each of the tubular portions 12 of the main frame M includes a first portion 14 extending upwardly from the longitudinal plane of the central tubular portion 12 at one end thereof to an elevated, second portion 15 which is curved laterally to form an end portion 16. The first portion 14 extends upwardly above the shoulders S of a person P reclining on the litter L. The elevated portion 15 will normally be adjacent the persons head H and neck while the end portion 16 will extend laterally around the top of the head of the person P. Such elevated portion 15 is disposed in a plane generally parallel to the plane of the central portion 12.
Each main frame M also includes a first U-shaped bracket 20 having a pair of side members or legs 22 and 23 and a arcuate or curved crossmember 24 extending therebetween. The leg 22 is secured to the central portion 12 and is inclined downwardly relative to the longitudinal plane of such central portion 12. The upper leg 23 is secured to the elevated portion 15 and is disposed generally in the plane of such elevated portion.
As shown, the U-shaped bracket 20 extends laterally inwardly of the main frame member M and the crossmember 24 ix curved upwardly from the leg 22 to the leg 23 and extends longitudinally of the mainframe member M for receiving and supporting the persons head and neck.
There are additional U-shaped brackets 30 and 40 which are secured to the longitudinally extending central portion 12 of the main frame member M and are disposed inwardly thereof for receiving and supporting the back and upper leg portions of the person P when he is reclining thereon. The bracket 30 includes side legs 32 and 33 and a longitudinally extending crossmember 34. Similarly the U-shaped bracket 40 includes side members or legs 42 and 43 as well as a longitudinally extending crossmember 44. As best seen in FIG. 4 of the drawings, the additional U-shaped brackets 30 and 40 are inclined inwardly and downwardly relative to the longitudinal plane of the central portions 12 when the main frames M are joined together.
An external U-shaped bracket 50 is also provided on the central portion 12 of the main frame member M. Such bracket 50 includes a pair of side members 52 and 53 as well as the crossmember 54 and as shown in FIG. 4, the laterally outwardly projecting U-shaped member 50 is inclined outwardly and upwardly relative to the tubular frame 12 and is disposed generally in the same plane as the inwardly extending U shaped brackets 30 and 40.
A main frame extension 60 is provided at the foot of the main frame M for adjusting the length of the litter L. Such extension 60 is preferably a tubular member having a longitudinally extending rod 61 which projects outwardly from the tubular member 60 and extends telescopically into the bore of the longitudinally extending central tubular portion 12. With this arrangement the main frame extension 60 may be adjusted to the desired length depending upon the size of the person P on which the litter of the present invention is to be used.
Locking screws 62 are provided near the end of the tubular member 12 for engaging the shaft 61 to lock it in the desired position relative to such tubular member 12.
As best seen in FIG. 1 of the drawings, the main frame extension 60 extends longitudinally along the axis of the central portion 12. Such member 60 has at its end a first upwardly inclined or turned up portion 62 which is connected to an elevated, second portion 63 which is bent or turned laterally to form an end portion 64 which is generally disposed substantially at right angles to the main frame extension 60.
A U-shaped bracket 70 is secured to the main frame extension 60 for supporting the calves C of the leg of a person P reclining thereon. The U-shaped bracket 70 includes a pair of side members 72 and 73 and a longitudinally extending crossmember 74 connecting the side members 72 and 73. Such U-shaped bracket 70 is also inclined inwardly and downwardly in substantially the same plane as the inwardly and downwardly inclined U-shaped brackets 30 and 40.
The coupling R, which is provided at each end of the litter L for securing the end portions 64 together and also for connecting the end portions 16 together, is shown in detail in FIG. 3. As shown, such coupling comprises a male member 80 which is adapted to be connected to a female member 90 by means of a sleeve 100.
The male portion 80 of the coupling R comprises a base 81 which extends into the open end of the tubular member 64 and is secured therein by means of a weld 64a or other suitable securing means. An annular projection 83 extends radially outwardly beyond the tubular member 64. A shaft 85 is formed adjacent the annular projection 83 and connects a larger diameter threaded portion 86 that extends to an annular shoulder 87.- A longitudinally extending shaft or pin 88 is positioned axially of the male member 80 and projects outwardly from the annular shoulder 87. Such shaft 88 is provided with a tapered end portion 89 to facilitate connection with the female member 90.
Such female member 90 includes a sleeve 91 having a central bore 92 therein for receiving the pin 88. Such sleeve 91 is normally secured in the end of the mating end portion 64 by press fit or other suitable means. Such sleeve 91 is provided with a laterally extending annular projection 94 which extends radially outwardly beyond the end of the member 64 and forms an annular shoulder 95 for engaging the annular shoulder 87 on the male member when the members are connected together and an annular shoulder 96 for engaging a shoulder in the sleeve 100 as will be described.
A sleeve or collar 100 having threads 102 formed therein for engaging the threads 86 on the male member 80 is provided for securing such members 80 and together. As shown, the threads 102 are formed on the inner surface 103 of the sleeve and intermediate the ends thereof. An annular shoulder 104 which extends radially inwardly from the inner surface 103 is provided for engaging the shoulder 96 which is formed on the sleeve 91. The sleeve 91 and collar are connected together before sleeve 91 is secured in 90. It will be noted that there is a clearance between the inner periphery of shoulder 104 and the outer surface of member 90, so that the collar 100 can be freely rotated to engage threads 102 with threads 86 to secure 80 and 90 together.
Considering now the apparatus of the present invention as shown in FIGS. 5 and 6 of the drawings as it is arranged for lifting a person in a vertical position through an opening or other restricted area which requires that the person be turned upright to a substantially vertical position as shown in FIG. 7. As shown in FIG. 5 of the drawings, the means for substantially immobilizing the head of a person P who is shown reclining on the litter of the present invention comprises a head harness including a chin strap which extends under the chin of the person P and is secured to the main frame M above his head for holding the chin at the desired elevation and a head restraining strap 112 which extends across the person's chin and around the persons head to secure the head against the curved brackets 20.
The chin strap 110 is preferably a nylon web belt or of other suitable flexible belting material which, as shown in the drawings, extends under the persons chin and over his head and is secured to the main frame M by any suitable means, such as being looped around the elevated portion 15 above the upper leg 23 of the U-shaped bracket 20. The two ends 114 and 115 of the strap 110 may be secured together by any suitable means such as by tying them together or by means of a buckle or, as shown in the drawings, by means of a strip of interlocking or intermeshing fiber 117 having a plurality of loops or piles of relatively rigid material which are laterally spaced so as to receive similarly woven loops or piles on a facing piece of the material 118 when the two are pressed together. Elastic portions 116 are provided in the strap 110 on opposite sides of the persons chin to permit some elasticity when lifting a person vertically as shown in FIG. 7, to inhibit injuring the neck or parts of the spinal column.
The head restraining strap 112 has its ends 120 and 121 secured to the curved or arcuate crossmember portions 24 of the U-shaped brackets 20 behind the head of the person P reclining thereon. The length of the strap 112 is adjustable, and preferably is provided with strips 1120 of an interlocking type of fabric described above which will permit the strap 112 to be adjusted into the desired length quickly and easily to secure it in position to hold the head of the person against the two curved or arcuate brackets 24. Such strap 112 may be stitched or otherwise secured to the strap 110 where the straps cross to form a pocket for receiving the persons chin.
As best seen in FIG. 5 of the drawings, a shoulder restraining strap is provided for securing the arms and shoulder portion of the persons body on the main frame M. As shown, the ends 131 and 132 may be permanently secured to the main frames central portions 12 by means of brads 133 or other suitable securing means, as desired. The strap 130 is preferably a web belt of nylon or other suitable material and is normally provided with a quick-release type of buckle 136 of the type normally found on automobile safety belts, which may be quickly and easily connected or released and which also provides convenient adjustment for the length of the belt 130.
Also, as shown in FIG. 5 of the drawings, the apparatus of the present invention is provided with a combination crotch harness and waits belt 150, however, it will be appreciated that the waits belt may be separated from the crotch harness. Such belt is normally formed of nylon webbing or suitable flexible material. As shown in the drawings, one end 151 of the belt or harness 150 is normally secured by means of a latch or clip 152 to the U-shaped member 30. However, it will'be appreciated that the end 151 may be secured to the U-shaped bracket 40, if desired, depending upon the size of the person P. Also, the end 151 could be secured to the central portion 12 or to the external U-shaped bracket 50, as desired. The belt end 151 is normally permanently secured in the bracket I52 and may be connected by stitching 153 or brads or some other suitable connecting means as desired.
As shown, one end of the belt 150 is connected behind the person P adjacent his waist. Such belt 150 is then extended through his ciotch C and over the top of his thigh T and is then looped or wrapped around the central portion 12 near his waist. The other end 155 of the strap 150 is extended through the adjustable buckle or latching device 156 to secure the strap 150 in position.
As shown in FIG. 5 of the drawings, a belt designated 150a is provided on the complementary main frame member M. One end of belt 150a is secured as described with regard to belt end 151. The belt 1500 is also provided with an adjustable buckle 156a adjacent its other end so that the length of the belt 150a may be adjusted to a desired length. A tongue 158 is mounted with the buckle 156 to provide for quick and easy release of connection of the straps 150 and 150a together.
A leg-retaining belt 170 is also normally provided on the main frame M for strapping the lower leg portion of the body of the person P to such main frame M. Normally, the strap 170 would be positioned at about the person's knees; however, it will be appreciated that the belt 170 may be positioned elsewhere if desired.
The ends 172 and 173 of the strap or web belt 170 are preferably secured to the main frame member 12, or if desired, the strap 170 may be secured to the main frame extension 60. As shown, the strap 172 is provided with a quick release buckle 174 and the other portion of the strap 170 is normally provided with a tongue 175 for connection in the quick-release buckle 174. Such buckle 174 is also adjustable to permit adjustment of the length of the strap 170.
As best seen in FIG. 7 of the drawings when a person P is thus secured on the main frame M he may be quickly and easily moved vertically upwardly for example, by means of a strap or harness 180, which is also preferably fonned of nylon or other suitable web straps having a ring 181 therein for connection by means of a hook 182 which of course, will be connected to a line for lifting a person P. With this arrangement the person P may be safely lifted in a vertical position through a narrow opening.
As shown in FIG. 6 of the drawings, a lifting harness 190 is provided for lifting the main frame M when it is in a horizontal position. Such harness 190 preferably comprises a web belt or strap which may be looped around the elevated portions 15 on the main frame M above the U-shaped members 20. Such strap 190 is preferably connected to a ring 191 for engagement from the lifting hook 192. A second strap 193 is provided for connecting the hook 192 to the main frame extension portion 60 of the main frame M. The strap 193 is preferably looped around the upwardly inclined portions 62' and is connected to a suitable ring 194 for engagement by a lifting hook 192. g
In operation, the safety litter of the apparatus L is separated into its two complementary main frame portions M by unscrewing or disconnecting the releasable couplings R at the opposite ends of such main frame members. Thereafter, the two complementary main frame portions are aligned with the body of the injured person so as to position his head on the first U-shaped bracket and his back and upper legs on the additional U-shaped members 30, 40 and 50 and with his lower legs on the U-shaped brackets 70. Thereafter, such main frame members M are moved laterally together with the U- shaped brackets being carefully slipped beneath the prostrate body of the person P. The male members are inserted into the female receptacles and the threaded sleeve is then screwed onto the threads 86 to lock the male and female members together and thereby provide a single, rigid unitary safety litter apparatus L.
It will be appreciated that with the safety litter apparatus of the present invention, the person P may be strapped into a relatively immobile position for further carrying or moving if desired. In that event, the chip strap 112 should be carefully placed beneath the persons chin and secured to the main frame M so as to retain the head and neck in substantially the same position in which the person was found. Also, the head restraining strap is placed across the front of the person s chin and is connected to the curved or arcuate portions of the first U-shaped bracket 20 on which the person's head rests. Thereafter, the crotch harness should be placed about the person's thighs and connected at his waist in front of his body as shown in FIG. 5 of the drawings to secure his waist and hips and thighs to the main frame M. Also, the shoulder strap or harness 130 and the lower leg strap may be placed about the person to insure his immobility on the safety litter L. With the person thus secured to the safety litter, he may then be lifted to a vertical or upright position for lifting by means of the lifting hook 182 which will be connected to a lifting strap such as 180.
In an alternative arrangement the lifting harness comprising the straps and 193 may be secured to the ends of the safety litter L for lifting by a hook 192.
The foregoing disclosure and description of the invention are illustrative and explanatory thereof, and various changes in the size, shape, and materials as well as in the details of the illustrated construction may be made within the scope of the appended claims without departing from the spirit of the invention.
l. A litter for picking up an injured person wherein the person may be positioned on the litter without substantially disturbing the injured person comprising:
a. a pair of complementary main frame members;
b. each of said main frame members having means to support the calf of the leg, thighs, hips, spine, shoulders and neck of a person when said pair of main frame members are connected together, said means including:
1. a central portion extending in a longitudinal plane;
2. a first portion extending from said central portion at each end thereof in an upwardly inclined plane from the longitudinal plane of said central portion;
3. a second portion extending from each of said first portions in a plane above but generally parallel to the longitudinal plane of said central portion;
4. An end portion substantially at right angles to and extending from each of said second portion;
5. a first bracket of generally U-shape with one leg of the U-shaped bracket being secured to said second portion of said main frame member and extending in the same direction as said end portion of said main frame member; the other leg of said first bracket being secured to said central portion of said main frame member and extending in the same direction as said 'end portion of said main frame member and being inclined downwardly relative to the longitudinal plane of said central portion of said main frame member; and the base of said first U-shaped bracket curving in an arch which extends below the inclined plane of said first portion of said main frame member to connect with the leg of said first U-shaped member to receive and support the head and neck of an injured person when said pair of main frame members are connected together;
6. additional U-shaped brackets mounted at spaced intervals on said central portion; said additional brackets being inclined downwardly relative to the longitudinal plane of said central portion with the base of said brackets lying in substantially a common plane below the longitudinal plane of said central portion and being in spaced relation when said main frame members are connected together;
. a Ushaped bracket mounted on said central portion of said main frame member and extending upwardly in an inclined plane and in an opposite direction to said first and said additional U-shaped brackets mounted on said main frame member, and
c. means on said end portion of each of said main frame members for connecting said pair of main frame members after they have been positioned for picking up an injured person.
2. The invention of claim 1 wherein said main frame members are formed of hollow tubular members and wherein each of said main frame members includes an extension arrangement whereby said litter may be adjusted lengthwise to accommodate the size of the injured person, said extension arrangement including:
a. a projection extending from a first segment of said central portion and telescopically fitting within a second segment of said central portion;
b. lock means mounted in said central portion for locking said first and second segments in any desired extended relationship.
3. The invention of claim 1 including means for substantially immobilizing the head of an injured person on said litter when said litter is disposed in a substantially vertical position and means for supporting the body of the injured person when the litter is disposed in a substantially vertical position.
4. The invention of claim 3 wherein said means for substantially immobilizing the head includes an adjustable chin strap for extending under the chin of the injured person on the litter and secured to the second portion thereof above the head of the injured person, said chin strap including an elastic portion to permit elasticity while maintaining the head substantially immobilized, and a head-restraining strap extending from one of said U-shaped bracket members across the chin and around a persons head to the other of said U- shaped bracket members.
5. The invention of claim 3 wherein said means for supporting the body of the injured person when the litter is disposed in a substantially vertical position comprises a crotch harness including strap means forming a pair of loops for encircling the legs of the person on the litter, said straps extending from one of said additional U-shaped brackets, through his crotch and connected to said central portion of said main frame.
6. A litter for an injured person wherein the person may be positioned on the litter without substantially disturbing the injured person comprising:
a. a pair of complementary main frame members;
b. means connected with said main frame members to support the head of a person when said pair of main frame members is connected together; and
c. said means being inclined longitudinally of said main frame members and in spaced relation for engaging the head of the injured person at spaced intervals to inhibit movement of the head.
7. A support for an injured person comprising:
a. a pair of spaced main frame members;
b. means connected with said main frame members to support the person when said pair of main frame members is connected together; and
c. said means including cradle means for the head of a person, said cradle means including spaced members which are inclined longitudinally of said main frame members for engaging the head of the person at spaced intervals to inhibit movement of the head.
8. The invention of claim 7 including strap means engaged with said main frame members for wrapping around the injured person whereby the injured person may be immobilized on the support to enable the support to be rotated or otherwise moved without disturbing the patient.
9. The invention of claim 6 including means for connecting said main frame members together.
10. The invention of claim 7 including means for connecting said main frame members together.
11. A litter comprising:
a. a pair of main frame members extending in a longitudinal plane;
b. said main frame members having one end portion in a plane elevated relative to the longitudinal plane of said main frame members;
c. means connected with said main frame members to support a person; and
d. said means including cradle means for the head of the person wherein said cradle means includes spaced members inclined longitudinally of said main frame members adjacent said one end for engaging the head of the person at spaced intervals to inhibit movement of the head.
12. The invention of claim 5 including a waist strap for extending across the body of the person near the waist to further support the person on the litter.
13. The invention of claim 11 including means for connecting said main frame members together.
M. The invention of claim 6 including strap means engaged with said main frame members for wrapping around the injured person whereby the injured person may be immobilized on the support to enable the support to be rotated or otherwise moved without disturbing the patient.