US 3782362 A
Baby incubators are provided with wall forming members projecting upward about the sides of a support for an infant and conditioned air is circulated over the inner surfaces of the walls in a manner to prevent loss of heat from the patient to the walls or ambient air. The construction in its preferred embodiments includes wall forming members movable to either opened or closed positions whereby access to the patient is afforded while the preservation of a protective environment is assured.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
1 Monte States Patent 1 1 1 3,782,362 Puzio Jan. 1, 1974 [5 BABY INCUBATOR 3,301,167 1/1967 Howard 98/36  Inventor: Eugene T. Puzio, 1385 Nottingham FOREIGN PATENTS QR APPLICATIONS Trenton 08609 813,872 11/1936 France 128/1 B 2 Filed; June 1 1971 958,348 11/1947 France 128/1 B  Appl l48408 Primary Examiner-Richard A. Gaudet Assistant Examiner-G. F. Dunne  US. CL. 128/1 B, 128/191 A Attorney-Sperry and Zoda  Int. Cl A6lg 11/00  Field of Search 128/1 B, 191, 191 A;
7 98/36 115 LH  ABSTRACT Baby incubators are provided with wall forming mem-  References Cited bers projecting upward about the sides of a support UNITED STATES PATENTS for an infant and conditioned air is circuiated over the 3,425,335 2/1969 Black 98/115 LH inner Surfaces of the Walls in a manner to [0.58 2,559,654 7/1951 Nettelandm 128 B of heat from the patient to the walls or ambient air. 3470366 10/1969 Gmelwnm' U 128,18 The construction in its preferred embodiments in- 3 294 03g 12/1966 Boehmer;m 123/191 R eludes wall forming members movable to either 3,552,391 1/1971 Deaton 128/194 opened or closed positions whereby access to the pa- 2,633,842 4/1953 Higgs 128/1 B tient is afforded while the preservation of a protective 2,708,927 5 1955 Dixon 128/1 B environment is assured 3,070,086 12/1962 Smith... 128/1 13 3,076,451 2/1963 Stoner 128/1 B 13 Claims, 15 Drawing Figures PATENTEDJm 11914 saw 1 n; '5
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BY WW ATTORNEYS PATENTEU 1 3. 782 382 I sum 5 or 5 64 INVENTOR EUGENE TI Pal/0 BUM w 9% ATTORNEYS BABY INCUBATOR FIELD OF INVENTION Baby incubators are widely used for the protection of newborn babies and particularly premature babies who need special care and attention. For this purpose, it is usual to provide such incubators with an infant support or mattress about which wall forming members extend to establish a partial or complete enclosure for the infant. Air which has been heated and humidified or otherwise conditioned is then circulated through the enclosure to maintain the infant at the desired temperature, to avoid excessive loss of moisture or to assure the desired sterile or other conditions required for the welfare of the infant. Typical baby incubators of the prior art are disclosed in the following US. Pat. Nos.:
While such constructions have been widely used, they do not serve to provide access to an infant supported within the incubator from opposite sides thereof or by more than one individual at a time. Furthermore, those members forming side walls of an enclosure extending about an infant within the incubator have been at least partially fixed in position or have been pivotally movable outward to afford access to an infant, whereby a nurse or doctor must step back away from the infant in order to swing the wall forming member out of the way. Such an arrangement of movable wall forming members also limits the number of infant incubators which may be located within any given space. Moreover, the manner in which air is circulated within the enclosure of previous baby incubators does not effectively prevent the infant from losing heat by radiation to cooler walls of the enclosure or serve to afford any protection for the infant when the incubator is opened to permit access to the infant.
THE PRESENT INVENTION In accordance with the present invention various types of baby incubators are provided wherein a support for an infant is encircled by wall forming members over which conditioned air is passed in a manner to heat said members to a desired temperature and aid in maintaining desired and predetermined conditions within the incubator and about a patient on the support. In a preferred embodiment of the invention the members forming those walls which extend about the sides of the support are movable to opened and closed positions affording ready access to the patient when desired. At the same time the construction serves to establish an air enclosure extending about and over the support so as to effectively isolate the patient from adverse conditions of the ambient atmosphere such as extremes and variations in temperature, harmful airborne organisms or other contaminants, while affording ready access to the patient.
THE DRAWINGS FIG. 2 is a diagrammatic longitudinal sectional view of an alternative embodiment of the present invention;
FIG. 3 is a top plan view of the construction shown in FIG. 2 indicating a typical pattern of air circulation which may be established therein;
FIG. 4 is a perspective illustrating a further alternative embodiment of the present invention with the elements thereof arranged in a patient enclosing position;
FIG. 5 is a view similar to FIG. 4 with the elements arranged to afford access to a patient in the incubator;
FIG. 6 is a longitudinal sectional view of the construction as shown in FIG. 4;
FIG. 7 is a transverse sectional view of the construction as shown in FIG. 5;
FIGS. 8, 9 and 10 illustrate details of the cover and mounting means therefore as shown in FIGS. 4 to 7;
FIG. 11 is a view looking upward into the cover of FIGS. 8, 9 and 10;
FIG. 12 is a diagrammatic vertical sectional view of typical means for use in supporting and moving the wall forming members of FIGS. 4 to 7;
FIG. 13 is a view taken at right angles to FIG. 12 illustrating details of construction;
FIG. 14 is a transverse sectional view through a further alternative form of baby incubator embodying the present invention; and
FIG. 15 is a longitudinal sectional view through the construction illustrated in FIG. 14.
PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS OF THE INVENTION In that form of the invention chosen for purposes of illustration in FIG. 1 ababy incubator is provided with a base 2 having a tray or support 4 for a mattress 6 upon which the patient may be placed. Wall forming members 8 which are preferably formed of transparent plastic, glass or the like, extend upward from the base 2 and are spaced from the sides of the mattress support 4 to provide air passages 10 through which currents of air may flow upward toward the space 12 above the patient and surrounded by the walls 8. The upper edges of the wall forming members are inclined inward as shown at 14 so as to cause the air issuing from the passages 10 about the sides of the mattress to be directed upward and inward into impinging contact above the patient and the open top of the incubator. The air thus directed serves to establish an air barrier which isolates and protects the patient from the ambient air while rendering the patient accessible to nurses and attendants. The air used in producing the air barrier is drawn from the exterior of the incubator through an opening 16 by means of a fan 18 and is passed through an air conditioning chamber 20 containing a filter, a humidifier and a heating element, as well as any other selected means utilized in conditioning, treating, or purifying the air being circulated.
The construction thusprovided not only serves to isolate the patient from the ambient and unconditioned air but also serves to direct heated and conditioned air over the wall forming members 8 whereby loss of heat from the infant to colder surrounding walls of the incubator is prevented. Moreover, fogging and condensation of moisture on the side walls of the incubator is reduced so that the patient can be kept under constant observation. At the same time the open top of the incubator is unobstructed by the isolating air barrier and therefore the doctor, nurse or attendant can have immediate and ready access to the patient at all times.
In that form of the invention illustrated in FIGS. 2 and 3 of the drawing the air utilized in establishing a protective barrier above the patient is recirculated so as to reduce or eliminate intermingling of the conditioned air with ambient air from the exterior of the incubator. Accordingly, the base 30 of the incubator has an air conditioning chamber 32 therein through which air is circulated by means of a blower 34. Air is discharged from the chamber 32 through suitable outlets 36 which may be distributed at suitable points about the sides of the chamber 32 so as to pass upward through passages 38'at sides and ends of the mattress support 40. The conditioned air is thus caused to flow upward over the inner surfaces of the side wall forming members 42 into contact with the inwardly inclined air deflecting upper portions 44 of the side walls. The conditioned air flows over and above the patient resting upon the mattress support 40 through the space 46 and is returned to the air conditioning chamber 32 through a return air passage 48 and return air inlet 50.
The pattern of the air flow within the space 46 above the patient and the direction and velocity of such air flow can be varied as desired. Thus as shown in FIG. 3, the width of the air passages 38 at the sides of the support 40 may be somewhat greater adjacent the left hand end of the incubator than at the right hand end thereof so as to assure substantially uniform velocity in the flow of conditioned air longitudinally through the space 46. The pattern of air circulation can of course be otherwise arranged by suitable location and formation of the air inlet and outlet passages provided.
In any event, the construction provided renders it possible to produce and maintain a controlled environment for the patient within the incubator while rendering the patient continuously accessible for attention and observation. Moreover, loss of heat from the patient to the side walls of the incubator is precluded by the continued flow of warm air over the wall forming members. Furthermore, the patient is effectively isolated from the ambient atmosphere above the patient by an air barrier of controlled and conditioned air established above the open top of'the wall forming members extending about the sides of the infant support.
In some instances and for some purposes it may be desired to provide the incubator with a removable cover or hood 52 adapted to cooperate with the air deflecting upper portions 44 of the wall forming mem bers. The space 46 above and about the patient can thus be closed to prevent possible loss of oxygen, contamination of the air being circulated, excessive heating of the ambient atmosphere, or for other reasons.
In that form of the invention illustrated in FIGS. 4 to of the drawings, the incubator has a base 62 which preferably has wheels or casters 64 permitting it to be moved about as desired. An infant support 66 is located near the top of the base for receiving a mattress 68 upon which an infant may be placed. Wall forming members 70, 72, 74 and 76 are arranged about the outer sides of the base 62 and are preferably connected together so as to form a unitary assembly which may be moved vertically from a raised, patient-enclosing position as shown in FIG.4 to a lowered position as shown in FIG. 5 which serves to provide access to the infant from all sides. The wall forming members, when thus lowered, are arranged in telescoping relation with respect to the base 62 so that it is not necessary for a nurse or attendant to move back away from the incubator in moving the wall forming members from one position to another.
In order to maintain a controlled environment within the incubator and about an infant resting upon the mattress 68 on infant support 66, means are housed within the base 62 for filtering, heating humidifying or otherwise treating and conditioning air and circulating it within the incubator. Such means may be of any conventional or preferred type and construction and are designed to draw some ambient air into the base and to discharge some conditioned air from the incubator through suitable openings as represented at 78 and 79. These openings are opened or closed, depending on whether or not oxygen is being administered or not. The treated air is circulated by a blower, indicated at 80 so as to cause it to flow upwardly through passages 82 located between and adjacent the opposite sides of the infant support 66 and the wall forming members 70 and 74. In a similar way, passages 84 are located between the opposite ends of support 66 and the wall forming members 72 and 76. In this way, curtains of warm air are directed upwardly over the inner surfaces of the wall forming members in the manner shown in FIGS. 6 and 7 to eliminate or minimize patient heat losses by radiation to the wall forming members. As a result, it is possible to maintain said wall forming members at a constant, uniform and predetermined temperature. Such control may, be effected as desired by proper selection of the temperature and velocity of the film of air moving past the wall forming means.
The upper edges of the wall forming members 70 to 76 are preferably inclined inwardly as indicated at 86 so as to cause the air flowing upward over the inner sides thereof to be deflected inwardly to establish an air barrier above the open top of the incubator as described above in connection with the constructions shown in FIGS. 1, 2 and 3 of the drawings. However, as shown in FIGS. 4 to 10, the incubator is preferably provided with a cover or hood 88 adapted to close the open top of the incubator. For this purpose the cover 88 is provided with lower surfaces 90 engageable with the upper and inwardly inclined air deflecting surfaces 86 of the side wall forming members 70 to 76. Conditioned air then may be recirculated through the air conditioning and purifying means by passage downward from beneath the cover 88 to a return air duct 92 located within a column or standard 94 positioned adjacent one end of the base 62 of the incubator. Duct 92 may serve as a housing-for air filtering or conditioning and circulating means if desired.
The cover 88 is arranged to extend horizontally outward from the column 94 over the top of the incubator and the assembled side wall members 70 to 76. However, it is desirable to support the cover in such a manner as to permit it to be yieldably moved upward or sideways with respect to the column 94. For this purpose the cover is provided on one end with a holder 96 hingedly connected at 98 to a plate 100 movably supported on the upper end of the column 94. As shown in FIGS. 8 and 9 the plate 100 is held in engagement with the top of column 94 by an overlying mounting member 102 having one end of a spring 104 secured thereto. The opposite end of the spring 104 is secured to a bracket 106 on the holder 96 of the cover 88 whereby the weight of the cover is at least partially supported to permit it to be easily moved upward about its hinge 98 to the dotted line position of FIG. 8. Further, as shown in FIG. 8, the holder 96 for the cover 88 is provided with an end member 108 engageable with the inner face 1 of the column 94 to hold the cover in its normal horizontal position whereas an opening 112 in the end member allows air from beneath the cover 88 to pass into return air duct 92 for recirculation through the air conditioning means within the base 62 of the incubator.
The cover 88 also may be provided with a horizontal air duct 114 therein by mounting a sheet of material 115 beneath the top of the cover and spacing the sides thereof from the sides and ends of the cover as shown in FIG. 11. The end of duct 114 adjacent the column 94 may then communicate with the holder 96 and return air duct 92 whereas open sides of the duct 114 are arranged adjacent the sides-of cover 88 and designed to assure substantially uniform or controlled flow of the air upward over the inner surfaces of the wall forming members 70 to 76 to air duct 114 when the incubator is closed by engagement of the cover with the wall forming member. The cover 88 and its air duct 114 also serve to aid in establishing peripheral air flow upward about the support 66 when the cover is raised to afford access to the patient in the incubator as shown in FIG. 7.
In order to permit limited yielding movement of the cover 88 in a horizontal direction the plate 100 to which the cover is hingedly connected may be provided with notches 116 engageable with fixed pins 118 on the mounting member 102. Since the pins 118 and notches are located on opposite sides of the vertical plane in which spring 104 is located, the spring urges the notches in plate 100 toward pins 118 but still permits the plate, together with the cover 88, holder 96 and hinge 98 to be yieldably displaced sideways as shown in dotted lines in FIG. 9, when desired.
in the preferred construction illustrated in FIGS. 12 and 13, the wall forming members 70 to 76 are connected together as a unit, the unit is mounted on vertically movable rods 120 located adjacent the four corners of the assembly. Means are provided for yieldably holding the assembly in any elevated position to which it may be moved while preventing cocking or jamming of the assembly as it is raised or lowered. For this purpose, the rods 120 pass through guides or bushings 122 mounted on the base 62 and the rods at the opposite ends of the assembly are connected to cross bars 124 and 126. A tensioning cable 128 has one end thereof attached to the cross bar 124, from which it extends downward beneath a pulley 120, then upward over pulley 132, across to a corresponding pulley 134 located adjacent the opposite end of the assembly, thence downward beneath pulley 136 and upward for attachment of the opposite end of the cable to the cross bar 126. The construction thus provided serves to stabilize and guide the assembly in its movement while allowing it to be readily raised and lowered as required by an attendant standing at either side or on the end of the incubator.
It is generally preferred to assure firm engagement of the upper edges of the wall forming members of the assembly with the cover or bonnet 88 when the assembly is in its raised, infant-enclosing position. Therefore a thrust plate 138 may be pivotally mounted at 140 on each end of the base 62 andyieldably urged by a spring member 142 in a counter clockwise direction seen in FIG. 13 about the pivot 140. A cam slot 146 in each thrust plate 138 will then receive a pin 148 on one of the cross bars 124 and 126 to urge the assembly of wall forming members upward during the upper limit of their movement to a raised position. However, when the assembly is moved downward, the pins 148 will rock the thrust plates 138 in a clockwise direction about the pivot pins to an over-center position so that it is only necessary to apply enough downwardly directed force to the assembly to overcome the limited tension of the spring members 142. For this purpose, the assembly of wall forming members may be provided with handles 150 at opposite ends thereof near the upper edges of the members 70 and 74.
In a further alternative form of the present invention as shown in FIGS. 14 and 15, the base of the incubator has a vertical column 162 thereon provided with a horizontally extending cantilever beam 164 or the like about which an assembly 166 of wall forming members is rotatable from the full line position of FIG. 14 to the dotted line position shown. The cantilever beam 164 has a support 168, for receiving a mattress and in fant, carried thereby and spaced above the beam 164 so as to provide an air space 170 through which conditioned air may be passed from the column 162 by means of an air supply opening 172. Air may then flow upward about the sides and end of the support 168 through passages 174 for return to the column 162 through a return air opening 178 leading to air conditioning and circulating means 180 housed within the column 162.
The assembly of wall forming members 166 includes an upper portion having side walls 182 which extend outward and downward at opposite sides of the infant support 168 so as to present air passages 174 through which conditioned air may flow upward from air space 170 beneath the infant support 168. The curtain of air thus established prevents loss of heat by radiation from an infant on the support to the side walls 182. The edge portions 186 of the side walls 182 of the assembly 166 are inclined inwardly below the cantilever beam 164 as shown in FIG. 14 and serve to close the sides of the air space 170 beneath the infant support 168 by contact with the opposite edges of the beam 164. Flexible sealing strips 188 may be mounted on the cantilever beam 164 if desired to prevent air leakage between the beam and edge portions 186 of the assembly 166.
The outer end of the beam 164 has a plate 190 extending upward thereon and provided with a pivot means 192 engageable by a complementary element on the outer end wall 196 of the assembly 166. The opposite or inner end wall 198 of the assembly 166 is provided with a circular opening 200 which receives an annular collar 202 on column 162 surrounding the air supply opening 172 and return air opening 178. The assembly 166 therefore is rotatable from the full line position of FIG. 14, wherein the infant support is enclosed within the assembly of wall forming members 166, to an inverted dotted line position of FIG. 14. The assembly 166 may be thus rotated and inverted by a handle 204 mounted on the outer end wall 198 whereby the inclined edge portions 186 of the side walls 182 are brought into positions wherein they are spaced from the opposite sides of the infant support 168. At the same time the extremities 206 of the edges 186 are disposed somewhat above the level of the infant support 168 whereby the air flowing upward from air space 170 will serve to establish an air barrier above the support 168 to protect an infant on the support from adverse effects of ambient atmosphere above the support.
As particularly shown in FIG. the infant support 168 used in infant incubators embodying the present invention may be provided with legs or brackets 208 which are pivotally or otherwise mounted on the support for movement to various positions for adjusting the level of the infant support with respect to the inwardly inclined air deflecting edges of adjacent forming members. Thus when the wall forming members are moved to an open position rendering the patient on the infant support readily accessible to attendants, the rela tive position of the air deflecting means and infant support can be adjusted to afford the greatest convenience to attendants or to establish the most effective form and type of air barrier adjacent and above the open top of the enclosure extending about the sides of the infant support.
It will be apparent from the foregoing description and drawings showing various embodiments of the present invention, that the construction is capable of many modifications in the form, assembly and combination of the features disclosed above. It should therefore be understood that such embodiments are intended to be illustrative only and are not intended to limit the scope of the following claims.
1. A baby incubator comprising a base, an infant support on said base, wall forming members located adjacent the sides of said base and support and spaced from the edges of said support, means for mounting said wall forming members for vertical movement with respect to said base and support from a raised position in which they extend upward about the sides of said support to a lowered position affording access to said support from the sides thereof, means for directing conditioned air upward through the space between said support and wall forming members and over the inner surface of at least one of said wall forming members while said members are in said raised position, and means carried by said wall forming members for deflecting such air inward over said support when said members are in said lowered position.
2. A baby incubator as defined in claim 1 wherein a cover extends over said support in a position to cooperate with said wall forming members when said members are in said raised position to provide an enclosure for said infant support.
3. A baby incubator comprising a base, an infant support on said base, wall forming members connected together to form a unit surrounding said base and support, means for mounting said unit for vertical telescoping movement with respect to the base and support from a raised position in which the upper edges of said wall forming members project upward a substantial distance above said support to a lowered position in which the upper edges of said wall forming members are positioned adjacent said support, at least a portion of said wall forming members being spaced from said support,
and means for circulating conditioned air upward.
through said space, over the inner surfaces of said wall forming members and over said infant support.
4. A baby incubator defined in claim 3 wherein said support is substantially rectangular and said wall forming members extend vertically adjacent the sides of said support, at least one of said wall forming members being transparent.
5. A baby incubator as defined in claim 3 wherein means are provided for directing heated air upward adjacent the inner surfaces of said wall forming members.
6. A baby incubator as defined in claim 3 wherein at least some of said wall forming members are provided with inwardly inclined air deflecting means located adjacent the upper edges thereof.
7. A baby incubator comprising a base, an infant support on said base, wall forming members connected together as a unit extending about the sides of said support and spaced therefrom, means for mounting said unit for vertical movement into and out ofa raised position in which they extend upwardly about the sides of said support, a cover extending over said support and spaced vertically therefrom, a column extending upward adjacent one of said wall forming members, said cover being mounted on said column and positioned to cooperate with said wall forming members to form an enclosure extending about and over said support when said unit is in said raised position, air conditioning means in said base, and means for circulating air from said air conditioning meansthrough the space between the support and wall forming members to said column for return to said air conditioning means.
8. A baby incubator as defined in claim 7 wherein said cover is yieldably mounted on said column.
9. A baby incubator as defined in claim 7 wherein means are provided for circulating conditioned air through the space about said support including an air duct located within said column and communicating with said space.
10. A baby incubator as defined in claim 9 wherein there is a base located below said support and having air conditioning means therein, said column has an air duct therein communicating at its upper end with the space beneath said cover and communicating at its lower end with said air conditioning means, and means are provided for circulating air through said space, said duct and said air conditioning means.
11. A baby incubator comprising a base, a generally rectangular infant support mounted on said base, wall forming members extending upward from said base on all four sides of said support, said wall forming members having the upper edges thereof located at a level above said support and cooperating to define an enclosure which extends about the sides of said support but is open at the top, the opening at the top of said enclosure being generally coextensive with the support whereby the support is substantially wholly exposed to provide access to a supported infant, at least two of said wall forming members located at opposite sides of said support being spaced from the support to define air passages therebetween at said opposite sides of the support, and having inwardly inclined air deflecting means adjacent the upper edges thereof, means below the support and including a blower-for establishing at least one pair of air curtains flowing upwardly through the air passages between said support and said opposite wall forming members and over the inner surfaces thereof into contact with said air deflecting means so that said air curtains will be directed inwardly into impinging contact adjacent the open top of said enclosure and means.
13. A baby incubator as defined in claim 11 wherein a cover member is located above said wall forming members, and said wall forming members and cover member are relatively movable into and out of a position wherein they enclose said infant support.
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