US 3797652 A
A nested stack of sterile shielded containers wherein each container includes a hollow sterile tray to retain sterile articles therein, with the tray including, a top for access to the articles, a bottom, and at least one side wall connecting the top and the bottom. A shield including a flexible sheet covers at least a portion of the tray top and one side wall, and the sheet is sufficiently large to prevent contamination of the tray or articles during grasping of the shield by a user's hands. Each shield, except for the one covering the uppermost tray in the stack, is partially retracted into the top of its respective tray by the nested bottom portion of the tray thereabove.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent [1 1 Chesky Mar. 19, 1974 NESTEDSTACK 0F STERILE SHIELDED 3.249.070 5/1966 Day BI al 206/632 R 3.650.393 3/1972 Reiss et al 206/632 R CONTAINERS Inventor: Sheldon R. Chesky, Rolling Meadows, Ill.
 Assignee: The Kendall Company, Walpole,
 Filed: Sept. 29, 1972  Appl. No.5 293,638
Related US. Application Data  Division of Ser No. l2l,080, March 4, i974, Pat.
52 us. Cl....206/229, 206/438, 206/516, 206/518, 206/508  Int. Cl B65d 71/00 i  Field of Search 206/46 86, 46 ST, 56 AC, 206/56 AA, 63.2 R, 65 R, 65 K, DIG. 29; 220/97 C  References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,715,685 6/1929 Tighe 206/65 K Primary Examiner-William T. Dixson, Jr. Assistant ExaminerSteven E. Lipman Attorney, Agent, or Firm-Powell L. Sprunger  ABSTRACT A nested stack of sterile shielded containers wherein each container includes a hollow sterile tray to retain sterile articles therein, with the tray including, a top for access to the articles, a bottom, and at least one side wall connecting the top and the bottom. A shield including a flexible sheet covers at least a portion of the tray top and one side wall, and the sheet is sufficiently large to prevent contamination of the tray or articles during grasping of the shield by a users hands. Each shield, except for the one covering the uppermost tray in the stack, is partially retracted into the top of its respective tray by the nested bottom portion of the tray thereabove.
6 Claims, 10 Drawing Figures NESTED STACK OF STERIIJIE SHIELDED CONTAINERS This is a division of application Ser. No. 121,080, filed Mar. 4, 1971, now US. Pat. No. 3,730,338.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to a shield for a hollow sterile tray to retain sterile articles.
It is well known that many medicinal articles utilized for treatment of a patient must be sterilized to prevent infection. Since it is frequently inconvenient or impossible to sterilize such articles at the time of treatment, it has become common practice to sterilize them at some time prior to their actual use. Accordingly, the pre-sterilized articles must often be maintained in a sterile condition for considerable periods of time, and to prevent contamination they may be packaged in sterile containers or trays which may be covered by a protective wrap and which are opened immediately prior to use.
Once the wrap is removed to expose the trays, a considerable amount of care must be exercised in manuipulating the trays without contaminating the tray contents. In the past this has been both inconvenient and difficult. For example, sterile gloves have been packaged within the protective wrap, and after placement on the hands of a user, they are utilized to move and open the trays. However, this procedure is deficient since the glove fingers may become contaminated while the gloves are being placed on the hands, or the sterile articles of the trays may be contaminated while removing the gloves. Also, sterile instruments, such as forceps or clamps, have been packaged within the wrap, but it is difficult to manipulate the trays with such instruments, and not infrequently the tray contents have been spilled due to the use of such devices.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The principle feature of the present invention is the provision of a shield to protect a sterile tray and contents from contamination (luring manipulation of the trays by the hands of a user and during opening of the trays for access to the tray contents.
The shield of the present invention includes a flexible sheet which covers at least a portion of a top of the tray and at least a portion of a sidewall of the tray which connects the tray top and bottom. The sheet is sufficiently large to prevent contamination of the tray during grasping of the shield by the users hands.
A feature of the present invention is that the tray opens through the top to a chamber for retaining the contents therein, and the sheet includes a top panel which substantially closes the tray chamber.
Another feature of the invention is that the sheet includes a bottom panel which covers at least a portion of the tray bottom and which releasably retains the sheet to the tray.
A further feature of the invention is that the sheet is resistive of bacterial penetration to protect the sterile tray and contents from contamination while grasping the shield by a non-sterile hand.
Yet another feature of the invention is the provision of means for releasably retaining a sterile glove in the shield.
The sheet has a side panel covering at least a portion of the tray sidewall and connected to the bottom panel by a fold, and the side panel is connected to the top panel by a grasping fold which is positioned adjacent the tray top.
A feature of the invention is that the sheet includes indicia adjacent the grasping fold to specify the location for grasping the shield.
Another feature of the present invention is the provision of tab means adjacent the grasping fold to facilitate removal of the shield from the tray.
The tray has an outwardly directed flange adjacent the top of the tray, and the grasping fold of the sheet is positioned adjacent the tray flange.
A further feature of the invention is that the shield may be grasped for engagement against the tray flange to facilitate manipulation of the tray.
The trays may be stackable with the bottom portion of an upper tray being received in the upper part of the chamber of a lower tray, and a plurality of the shielded trays are nested to form a stack of trays.
Still another feature of the invention is that the tray shields of the nested trays are grasped to unstack the trays without contaminating the tray contents.
Further features will become more fully apparent in the following description of the embodiment of this invention and from the appended claims.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS In the drawings:
FIG. I is a perspective view of the tray shield of the present invention as positioned on a tray;
FIG. 2 is a fragmentary perspective view of the shield and tray showing a side tab formed by folding the shield;
FIG. 3 is a cross sectional view of the shield and tray taken substantially as indicated along the'line 3-3 of FIG. I;
FIG. 4 is a plan view of the tray shield prior to folding for covering a tray;
FIG. 5 is a perspective view of a sterile package having a plurality of stacked trays and tray shields;
FIG. 6 is a perspective view showing a lower tray and shield of the sterile package of FIG. 5;
FIG. '7 is a perspective view of a tray shield having a tuck to facilitate removal of the shield from the trays;
FIG. S is a side elevational section view of a shield having a wallet for retaining a sterile glove as positioned on a tray;
FIG. 9 is a side elevational view of the shield wallet of FIG. 8 partly removed from the tray; and
FIG. I0 is a perspective view of the shield wallet of FIG. 8, with the wallet being slightly released to deposit the glove on a sterile surface.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring now to FIGS. 1, 2, and 3, a sterile tray shield, generally designated 11, is shown for covering a hollow sterile tray or container, generally designated 12, to protect the tray I2 and sterile articles 14 retained in the tray from contamination.
In a preferred form, the tray 12 has a top I6, a bottom IS, and a continuous side wall 20 connecting the tray top and bottom 16 and I8, with the bottom I8 and sidewall 20 partially enclosing a chamber or cavity 22 in the tray for retention of the sterile articles I4. The tray 112 may be generally rectangular with the sidewall including two pairs of upstanding opposing sidewalls connected to the bottom wall 18. The sidewalls terminate at the top of the tray .in edge 16 from which a flange 23 extends around the periphery of the tray. Access to the articles 14 is obtained through the top 16,
and preferably the tray 12 has an open top for ready access to the contents..The perimeter of the sidewall 20 adjacent the bottom of the tray may be less than the perimeter of the sidewall adjacent the top of the tray to permit stacking of the trays, as will be described in greater detail below.
The shield 11 has a top panel 24 for covering at least a portion of the tray top 16, and preferably closes the open top of the tray 12. The shield 11 has a side panel 26 connected to the top panel 24 and which faces and covers a substantial portion of the connecting tray sidewall 20 at a side 28. The shield 11 also has a bottom panel 30 connected to the side panel 26 and which engages and covers a portion of the tray bottom 18.
As shown in FIG. 4, the shield 11 may be conveniently formed from a flexible rectangular sheet which has a pair of side edges 29a and 29b and a pair of end edges 31a and 31b which connect the side edges. First, a lateral fold 34 may be formed in the sheet which extends between the sides 29a and 29b and which is generally aligned with one end edge 31a, and the fold 34 defines the bottom panel or section 30 which extends between the fold 34 and the one end edge 31a. Second, a lateral fold 32 is formed in the sheet which also extends between the side edges 39a and 29b, and which is generally aligned with the other end edge 31b. The folds 32 and 34 define the side panel or section 26 which extends between the folds, and the fold 32 defines the top panel or section 24 which extends between the fold 32 and the other end edge 31b. After folding, the sheet is releasably attached to the tray.
Such materials as paper, plastic, or cloth may be used for the flexible sheet, and the selection of a particular material is in part determined by its resistance to bacterial penetration. Preferably, the sheet provides a penetration barrier for at least 30 seconds, employing a bacterial transfer technique on moist agar culture media. Additionally, it is contemplated that the shield may be preformed from a rigid material, and a metal could be used for such a shield.
The shield 11 is grasped in the region of the fold line 32 which is positioned adjacent the outer edge of the flange 23 and indicia 36. As illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 3, the indicia 36 designates this region by the work GRASP to specify the preferred location for gripping the shield. To facilitate manipulation of the tray, the grasping fold 32 is positioned adjacent the tray flange 23, and the grasped shield engages the sides or an inner corner 35 of the flange 23 for ease of handling.
In order to prevent contamination of the tray and contents, the top and side panels 24 and 26 of the sheet extend substantially the width of the tray relative to to the top edge 16 at one side 28, and the top panel 24 extends for a sufficient length from the outer edge of flange 23 or connecting fold 32 to grasp the shield with the hands without touching the tray. Thus, the shield may be handled by non-sterile hands, such as an exposed hand or a hand wearing a non-sterile glove, without contaminating the tray or articles. Of course, the shield may be grasped by a handwearing a sterile glove, if desired.
tending side portions of the shield may be folded up-' wardly toward the tray top 16 along the lines 40 on both sides of'the tray and spaced from the edges 29a and 29b, with these side portions defining tabs 42 which engage the sides of the tray. Accordingly, the tabs 42 and the bottom panel 30, which engages the tray bottom 18, serve as means for releasably retaining or attaching the shield 11 to the tray.
Referring to FIGS. 1 and 3, to remove the shield from the tray, the top and side panels 24 and 26 are pinched by the users fingers adjacent the fold 32, and the shield 11 is pulled outwardly, thus simultaneously removing the shield and exposing the articles 14 in the open tray for use. As illustrated in FIG. 7, the shield may include tab means, generally designated 44, to facilitate removal of the shield from the tray. The tab means 44 may be formed by folding a tuck 46 in the shield, preferably adjacent the fold line 32, and the tuck 46 is secured by a pair of clips 48, by tape, glue, or other suitable means. Although the tuck 46 is shown as folded in the side panel 26, it is also contemplated that the tuck may be positioned on the top panel 24 adjacent the fold 32, with the direction of the tuck fold being reversed.
As illustrated in FIG. 5, a plurality of shielded opentopped trays 12 are nested to form a stack of trays, as generally designated by the numeral 50. As a specific example, the trays 12 may contain sterile articles for scrubbing the skin prior to an operation. The articles 14, the trays 12, and the shields 11 in the tray stack are sterilized and may be covered with a sterile wrap (not shown). Immediately prior to use, the sterile wrap is unfolded to expose the nested trays 50, the shields llll are grasped as indicated by the indicia 36 to unstack the trays 12, and the shields are then removed to expose the contents for use without contamination.
If desired, the shields 11 may be folded to define the tabs 42, in which case the tabs 42 are positioned intermediate the outer surface of an upper tray sidewall 20 and the inner surface of a lower tray sidewall of the trays 50, and the tabs 42 are accordingly frictionally engaged between the sidewalls to aid in retaining the bottom panels 30 in position. As illustrated in FIG. 6, the top panels 24 of the lower trays are partially retracted into the tray cavity in order that the bottom portions of the upper trays may be received within the open tray tops for stacking. If the lower trays 12 are not completely filled and the sidewall 20 is tapered, the side portions 52 of the retracted top panels 24 may be folded upwardly toward the tray top 16. Accordingly, when the trays are stacked the panel side portions 52 are frictionally engaged between the inner side wall surface of a lower tray and the exterior surfaces of the sides of a shielded upper tray nested therein, thereby retaining the top panels 24 in position. Thus, the engaged tabs 42 and panel side portions 52 additionally insure that the shields 11 will remain in position until the package is unstacked.
In one embodiment of the stack of trays 50, a sterile pair of forceps 53 is positioned above a top panel 24 in a lower tray, with the jaws of the forceps being positioned remote the grasping fold 32 to prevent contaminating of the jaws by the hands while grasping the shield. In the nested trays the forceps are located intermediate the panel 24 and the bottom of a shielded upper tray which is received in the lower tray top. After the trays are unstacked, the forceps 53 are exposed to the user, and the sterile forceps are utilized to remove the sterile contents from the trays.
As illustrated in FIG. 5, the trays may have a variable height while utilizing the same size of tray shields. In the package 50, the lowest tray has a greater height than the two upper trays.
In one embodiment of the invention, as shown in FIG. 8, the tray shield 11 has a wallet, generally designated 60, for retaining a sterile glove or pair of sterile gloves 62. The wallet 60 has a first panel 64 which overlies the top panel 24, and which is connected to the top panel by a first fold 66 remote from the grasping fold 32. The first panel 64 extends from the first fold 66 to adjacent the grasping fold 32 and is connected by a second fold 70 to a second panel 68 which overlies the first panel 64. The second fold 70 is preferably positioned adjacent the grasping fold 32 in order that the second and side panels 68 and 26 may besimultaneously grasped in the region of the folds 70 and 32 for moving the tray. The second panel 68 extends from the second fold 70 past the first fold 66 and is connected to a third panel 72 by a third fold 74 adjacent the first fold 66. The third panel 72 underlies the top panel 24 and at least partially closes the top of the open tray 12.
In the wallet 60, the cuffed or wrist end 76 of the glove 62 is positioned intermediate the first and second panels 64 and 68 adjacent the second fold 70, and the glove 62 extends past the first and third folds 66 and 74, with a finger portion of the glove 78 being positioned intermediate the top and third panels 24 and 72. However, in one embodiment of the invention, the
third panel 72 may be omitted and the extending glove portion 78 may be received in the cavity of the tray below the top panel 24.
As illustrated in FIG. 9, the shield 11 is removed from the tray 12 by grasping the first and second panels 64 and 68 in the region or the second fold 70, and the glove end 76 is gripped through the first and second panels; As shown in FIG. 10, after removal of the shield 11 from the tray 12, the first and second panels 64 and 68 are slightly released to drop the sterile glove 62 onto a sterile surface 80, and the cuff 76 of the sterile glove 62 is exposed for insertion of the hand without contamination of the sterile glove finger portions 78. Thus, the wallet 60 serves as means for releasably retaining a sterile glove in the sheet or shield 11.
The foregoing detailed description is given for clearness of understanding only, and no unnecessary limitations should be understood therefrom, as modifications will be obvious to those skilled in the art.
I claim: 1. A stack of nested shielded sterile trays comprising:
a plurality of sterile trays, each of said trays having an open top, a bottom, and a continuous sidewall connecting the top and bottom and extending around a cavity in the tray for retaining sterile contents therein, with the perimeter around said sidewall adjacent the tray bottom being less than the perimeter adjacent the top of the trays with the bottom portion of an upper tray being received in the upper part of the cavity of a lower tray; and
a plurality of shields substantially resistive to bacterial penetration with each of said shields covering a substantial portion of the top a tray for grasping and unstacking the trays without contamination by a users hand, and with each of said shields comprising, a flexible sheet having a bottom and side panel separated by a first fold, and having a top panel separated from the side panel by a second fold, said bottom and side panels covering at least a portion of said tray bottom and sidewall, respectively, and said top panel substantially closing said tray cavity, each said shield, except for the one covering the uppermost tray in the stack, being partially retracted into the cavity of its respective tray by the nested bottom portion of the tray thereabove.
2. The stack of trays of claim 1 wherein said trays are generally rectangular, each of said tray sidewalls includes two pairs of opposing sides, and each of said side panels substantially covers one of said tray sides.
3. The stack of trays of claim 2 wherein the side portions of the bottom panels extend laterally beyond the tray bottoms, and including upward folds of the extending bottom panel portions defining tabs engaging the outer surface of the tray sides adjacent said one tray side of each of the trays.
4. The stack of trays of claim 3 wherein said panel tabs are frictionally engaged between outer and inner tray side surfaces of upper and lower stacked trays, respectively.
5. The stack of trays of claim 1 wherein the top panels include sideportions frictionally engaged between the inner sidewall surfaces of the lower trays and the exterior surfaces of the sides of the shielded upper trays nested therein.
6. The stack of trays of claim 1 including a pair of sterile forceps positioned above the top panel of a lower tray, said forceps being used to remove the sterile contents from the trays.