US 3861521 A
A disposable suture package and needle organizer consists of a unitary structure which forms a plurality of pockets, each large enough to accommodate a stack of suture packages of a different type and size. The top side of each pocket is transparent so that the suture type and size in the pocket is visible through the pocket top side. Forming part of the organizer are a plurality of magnetic bars preferably arranged in parallel spaced apart pairs. The magnetic bars are used to attract and hold the suture needles after their use in the operation. The pockets enable the various suture types and sizes to be continually segregated prior to and during the operation to avoid package mix-up, and enable speedy location of each suture type and/or size, as well as to expedite and simplify the needle count when required.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 11911 Burtz 1 DISPOSABLE SUTURE ORGANIZER  Inventor: Mildred V. Burtz, 1118 S. Rexford Dr., Apt. 5,v Los Angeles, Calif. 90035 v  Filed: Apr. 17, 1973  Appl. No.: 351,870
1-111 3,861,521 1451 Jan. 21, 1975 Primary ExaminerWilliam 1'. Price Assistant ExaminerJoseph Man- Fu' Moy v Attorney, Agent, or FirmLindenberg, Freilich, Wasserman, Rosen & Fernandez [5 7] ABSTRACT A disposable suture package and needle organizer 52 s 1 20 33 20 206/370, consists of a unitary structure which forms a plurality 206/813, 206/818, 128/335.5, 229/56, 335/303 of P each large gh to accommoda? a 51 1111. C1 A61b 19/02, 365d 31/12 stack of Suture Packages of a different type n $116-  Field Of Search 206/633, 370, 363465, The top Side of each P t transparent so t the 20 /43 439 3 3 3; 335/303; 29 5 128/3355 suture type and size in the pocketisvisible through the pocket top side. Forming part of the organizer are 5 pefel-encesvcited a plurality of magnetic bars preferably arranged in parallel spaced apart pairs. The magnetic bars are UNITED STATES PATENTS used to attract and hold the suture needles after their 1 E use in the operation. The pockets enable the various 5/1959 2:; 206/350 suture types and sizes to be continually segregated 3075'639 1/1963 Lingle/IIIIIIII 11111111206/366 P110r and during Operation toiavoid Package 3:483:494 12/1969 Cromie 1 1 206/818 P and enable p s y location Of each Suture 3,654,059 4/1972 Zisblatt 206/813 yp /o size, as well as to expedite and simplify 3,655,036 4/19 72 Corelli et a1. 206/813 the needle count when required. 3,727,658 4/1973 Eldridge, Jr. 206/818 7 3,759,376 9/1973 Lisowsk'i 206/633 10 C'a'mSJD'awmg Flgures '7 Illlll Illll'! IIIIIIIIIII v Illllllll? 111111] 1 DI-SPOSABLE SUTURE ORGANIZER BACKGROUND or THE INVENTION dles per package, depending on the particular suture type and size. In any operation of any degree of complexity, a. large number of different suture types and sizes are used. One of the tasks of the nurse in charge of the sutures, generally known as the instrument magnetically attract the used needles andsecure them r in place for the needle "count. However, no aid is presnurse, is to ready'each type of suture for the surgeon as well as to receive .used suture needles from him.
Before the operation can be completed, and the incision closed, the nurse must conduct one or more needle counts, to insure that all the used needles have been received by the nurse. Basically, in performing the needle count the nurse adds the number of used needles to those in the unused packages and the sum must equal the total number of needles recordedon a needle count board. Before the operation begins, the instrument nurse receives from-the circulating nursea large number of suture packages and the number of needles in them is entered on the needle count board. If during the surgery additional packages are needed, they are provided by thecirculating nurse and the number of needles in the additional packages is added to the needle count on the board. Despite the many advances in surgical procedures, the manner in which the suture packages are organized priorrtosurgery, handled during surgery and the way in which nurseskeep the used needles needed for the needle count is quite crude. Typically, closed suture packages are piled up on the nurses instrument table prior to the operation in a disorganized manner. Each nurse must resort to her ingenuity to organize the packages and keep them'organized during surgery to enable her to prepare speedily each type of suture for use by the surgeon. Most of the self-conceived techniques are quite unsatisfactory.
Generally, the instrument nurse arranges the packages in separate loose stacks according to type and size along the edge of the instrumenttable: However, during the operation, the loosely stacked packages tend to get mixed up, thereby complicating the duties of the instrument nurse to locate the proper suture package. Also, the disorganized packages make it difficult for the circulating nurse to determine the type and size of additional sutures which may be needed during the surgery. Quite often, one or more suture packages fall off ently available to assist thenurse in organizing the suture packages prior to surgery and keep them organized during surgery as well as to hold the used needles for the needle count. I
OBJECTS AND SUMMARY OFTHE INVENTION It is a primary object of the present invention to provide a simple and inexpensive device to simplify the tasks of thenurse in charge of sutures prior to and during surgery.
' Another object of the invention is to provide a simple and inexpensive suture-organizer with which the various suture packages to be usedduring surgery can be easily organized and to which used needles are attachable to facilitate the needle count.
These and other objects of the invention are achieved by providing a sterilizable unitary structure, hereafter referred to as the organizer, which forms a plurality of side-by-side pockets. Each pocket is large enough to hold several suture packages stacked on top of one another. The top sides of all thepockets are transparent so that the top package in each pocket is visible through the pockets top side. Preferably, the packages in each pocket are of the same suture size and type, so that during the operation the nurse can easily and speedily locate the needed suture. As the sutures are used up, the pockets are easily reloadable with additional packages; The pockets are arranged sothat their open ends are preferably along one or more parallel lines to facilitate access toany of the pockets for package loading or removal. Forming part of the organizer and attached to its top surface are means to which the nurse can'easily attach any used needle received from the surgeon. Preferably, such means comprise magnetic bars. The organizeris formed from foldable plastic material, with the bars attached thereon'so that the entire structure can be folded to reduce its overall size for shipment and storage purposes. Peel-away tape or any other means are attached to the back of the or ganizer in order to secure it on top of the instrument table for use during the operation. I
The novel features of the invention are set forth with particularityin the appended claims. The-invention-will'.
bestbe understood from .the following description whenread in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION or THE DRAWINGS DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE PREF RRED EMBODIMENTS Attention is now directed to FIG. 1 wherein numeral 10 designates the novel suture organizer of the present invention. It consists of a unitary foldable structure which forms a plurality of pockets, which for explanatory purposes are limited to five and are designated by numerals 11-15. The open ends of all the pockets are shown aligned along a line 16 which forms the-top edge of the organizer, while the bottoms of the pockets are along the bottom edge 17 of the organizer. The top sides 18 of all the pockets are transparent so that the content of each pocket is visible from the outside. The
side 18. Preferably, before the operation, each pocket 25 shown disposed along the bottom edge of the organizer. These strips are used by the-nurse to attach thereto the needles used by the surgeon. Preferably, strips 25 consist of magnetic bars to which needles can be temporarily yet securely attached until they are counted during the needle count and thereafter disposed of. Strips 25, however, are not intended to be limited to magnetic bars but rather may be formed of any material to which needles can be attached. For example, strips 25 may consist of cloth or towel-like material, magnetic tape, or masking tape, to mention but a few appropriate materials. When magnetic bars (or other means) are employed as strips 25,-it is preferable to arrange themin pairs; with each pair consisting of spaced apartbars parallelto one another, as shown in FIG. l.'Sin'gle bars maybe used to attach small needles 26 while larger needles 27 can be held in place by placing them on the parallel bars so that each larger needle is partially attracted by each of the two parallel bars. The arrangement of the magnetic bars in parallel pairs is believed to decrease the likelihood of accidental disengagement of any used needles from the bars, once the needle is attached to the bars by magnetic attractlon.
In another embodiment of the invention, shown in of back-to-back pockets 21-28, where the open ends of pockets 21-24 are aligned along the organizers top edge 29 and those of pockets 25-28 are aligned along the organizers bottom edge 30. The bottoms of the pockets in the two rows are spaced apart from one another and the space, designated by numeral 32, is partially occupied by the bars-25.
Either embodiment of the organizer can be easily formed from two sheets of plastic material designated by numerals l8 and which respectively form the top and bottom sides of the pockets. At least top sheet 18 has to be transparent. The pockets may be formed by heat sealing the top sheet 18 to the bottom sheet 20 along the bottom edge 17 in the embodiment of FIG.
1 or along the space 32 in FIG. 3, as well as along orga- FIG. 3, the organizer 10 is shown consisting of two rows Tobe used, the sterilized organizer is removed from the sterilized container (not shown) in wh ich'it is'received, is unfolded and placed on the instrument table.
Preferably, one or more strips of peel-away tape 40 (see FIG. 2) are attached to the bottom side of the organizer to secure the organizer'to the table. In the em bodiment of FIG. 3, the tape is preferably located under bars 25 so that the central portion of the organizer is secured to the table.'Similarly, in the embodiment shown in FIGS. 1 and 2, one of the strips of tape 40 should be under the bars 25, and preferably extend the entire length of the organizer. The positions and lengths of the strips of tape 40 in FIGS. 1 and 2 are shown to highlight their function and simplify the drawings rather than to limit them to the positions and lengths as shown.
Prior to the operation, the various pockets are loaded with the various types and sizes of the suture packages. Each pocket is used to hold a stack of packagesof a particulartype and size. Preferably, adjacent pockets can be used .to hold different sizes of the same suture type. Since the top side of each pocket is transparent, the nurse can easily locate the needed suture by merely glancing at the organizer. Since the stacksare separated in the various pockets, they cannot get mixed up during the surgery. Also, the organizer eliminates the likelihood of any package falling off the table accidentally. Since the sutures are segregated by type and size by the organizer, it is very easy for either the instrument nurse or the circulating nurse to determine during the operation the types and sizes of the sutures which are being depleted and must be augmented.
Since the bars holding the used needles are part of the organizer, the needle countis greatly simplified. The count is easily derived by adding the number of needles in the closed unused packages in the variousv ber of used needles on the bars 25.
As is known, quite often a differential needlecount pockets which are conveniently segregated to the numis required. In this count the needles of each suture.
It is generally believed than an organizer-with eight to ten pockets would be sufficient for many operations.
If the number of types and sizes of sutures to be'used in any operation is greater than the number of pockets in one organizer, two or more organizers can be placed side-by-side. The significant point to consider isthatfor each type and size ofa suture to be used in the operation, a separate pocket can be provided, so that all the sutures to be used are separated by type andsize.
Another advantage ofthe novel organizer relates to its usefulness as a safe means for disposing of all used needles. Ordinarily, all used needles must be placed in some point-protecting wrapping and then disposed of in a designated place. It is very important that all used needles are carefully disposed of. A used needle may accidentally fall on the floor and unless accountedfor and disposed, may interfere with a subsequentneedle count. Also, it may become attached to a shoe. of a the wrapped up organizer with the needles in the designated needle disposal place.
Although particular embodiments of the invention have been described and illustrated herein, it is recogniz ed that modifications and variations may readily occur to those skilled in the art and consequently it is intended that the claims be interpreted to cover such modifications and equivalents.
What is claimed is: y
l. A suture-package organizer for use in combination with suture packages, comprising:
a sterilizable unitary structure defining a plurality of pockets, each pocket having a permanently opened opening;
a plurality of individual closed suture packages of the 7 type usedin surgery, each package containing at least'one. needle enclosed therein, each pocket of said structure being adapted to hold therein at least one of said suture packages, each package being insertable in and removable from any of said pockets through the pockets permanently opened opening; and
needle holding means connected to said structure-for holding all the suture needles after their use in the surgery.
securing said structure on a substantially flat support surface.
4. A suture-package organizer-as recited in claim 1 wherein each pocket has atransparent top side whereby the top suture package contained in the pocket is visible through said top side, and wherein said needle holding means comprises magnetic means for holding needles placed thereon by magnetic attraction.
5. A suture-package organizer as recited in claim 4 wherein said structure is of a flexible foldable plastic magnetic bars at least some of which are substantially 2. A suture-package organizer as recited in claim 1 wherein each pocket has a transparent top side whereby the ,top suture package contained in the pocket is visible through said top side, and wherein said needle holding means are connected along one side of said structure and the openings of at least some of said pockets are aligned along a line parallel to and spaced apart from said one side.
3. A suture-package organizer as recited in claim ,1 wherein each pocket has a transparent top side whereby the top suture package contained in the pocket is visible through said topside, and wherein said structure includes a bottom side defining-the bottom sides of said pockets, and said organizer further inchides fastening means attached to said bottom side for aligned along one end of said structure near the bottoms ofsaid pockets.
7. A suture-package organizer as recited in claim 4 wherein said magnetic means include at least one pair of parallel spaced apart magnetic bars, adapted to hold larger size needles with parts of each large size'ne'edle being attracted and held by each of the pair of parallel spaced apart bars.
8. A suture-package organizer as recited in claim 1.
wherein each pocket has a transparent top side whereby the top suture package contained in the pocket is visible through said top side, and wherein said pockets are arranged in two separate groups, with the openings of the pockets in one group being aligned along a first edge of said structure and the openings of the pockets in the other group being aligned along a second edge of said structure opposite said first edge, and said needleholdingmeans are connected to said structure between the bottom of the pockets in said two groups. v v
9. A suture-package organizer as recited in claim 1 wherein each pocket has a transparent top side whereby the top suture package. contained in the pocket is visible through said top side, and wherein said needle holding means comprises magnetic bars for tween said first and second edges .of said structure.