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Publication numberUS3886606 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJun 3, 1975
Filing dateMay 29, 1973
Priority dateMay 29, 1973
Publication numberUS 3886606 A, US 3886606A, US-A-3886606, US3886606 A, US3886606A
InventorsBradford John Guythar
Original AssigneeBradford John Guythar
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Foldable casualty carrier
US 3886606 A
Abstract
A collapsible and portable carrier or stretcher for transporting a casualty or patient is described. The carrier is of the type having a rectangular frame with two end frame members and two side frame members engageable with the end frame members and a bed portion in the form of a flexible sheet supported by the frame. Each side frame member comprises at least two rigid tubular sections with the end of one tubular section being foldably connected to the end of the next adjacent tubular section by means of a hinged joint. A rigid tubular locking sleeve is slidably mounted on one of the tubular sections adjacent the hinge joint and this sleeve is slidable between a folding position entirely on the one tubular section and a locking position in which it surrounds the hinged joint whereby the tubular sections are locked in rigid end to end relationship. A resilient O-ring is mounted in an annular recess adjacent the hinge joint and this O-ring is positioned to frictionally engage the sleeve while it is being moved between the folding and locking position and to firmly hold the sleeve in either folding or locking position.
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United States Patent [1 1 Bradford June 3, 1975 FOLDABLE CASUALTY CARRIER John Guythar Bradford, 47 Mansfield Dr., Ancaster, Ontario, Canada [22] Filed: May 29, 1973 [21] Appl. No.: 364,320

[76] Inventor:

[52] U.S. Cl. 5/82; 5/114; 403/102 [51] Int. Cl. A61g 1/02; A45f 1/00 [58] Field of Search 5/82, 114; 16/168, 169;

Primary ExaminerCasmir A. Nunberg Attorney, Agent, or FirmBurns, Doane, Swecker & Mathis [57] ABSTRACT A collapsible and portable carrier or stretcher for transporting a casualty or patient is described. The carrier is of the type having a rectangular frame with two end frame members and two side frame members engageable with the end frame members and a bed portion in the form of a flexible sheet supported by the frame. Each side frame member comprises at least two rigid tubular sections with the end of one tubular section being foldably connected to the end of the next adjacent tubular section by means of a hinged joint. A rigid tubular locking sleeve is slidably mounted on one of the tubular sections adjacent the hinge joint and this sleeve is slidable between a folding position entirely on the one tubular section and a locking position in which it surrounds the hinged joint whereby the tubular sections are locked in rigid end to end relationship. A resilient O-ring is mounted in an annular recess adjacent the hinge joint and this Oring is positioned to frictionally engage the sleeve while it is being moved between the folding and locking position and to firmly hold the sleeve in either folding or locking position.

1 Claim, 6 Drawing Figures PATENYEDJUH ms SHEET 2 8,886,606

FIG.6

FOLDABLE CASUALTY CARRIER BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION 1. Field of the Invention The invention relates to an improved carrier or stretcher which can be readily folded for ease of transportation and also very easily extended into a rigid stretcher for carrying a casualty or patient.

2. Description of the Prior Art For many years there has been an interest in collapsible casualty carriers which will fold into a compact package for storing or handling when not in use and which can readily be extended into a rigid structure for carrying a casualty or patient. While the literature is filled with various designs of collapsible casualty carriers, there has always been the problem that either these carriers are too cumbersome and difficult to move about or they have been made too light such that they are not sufficiently rigid and strong for all purposes. As a result, collapsible casualty carriers have generally been used only where their collapsibility has been essential. There has been a pressing need in the military and medical fields for an all purpose casualty carrier which is light, quickly assembled and disassembled, compact in the collapsed state and also compatible with various forms of ancillary equipment.

Various folding arrangements have been proposed and one such proposal is described in Lucey U.S. Pat. No. 2,242,311 issued May 20, 1941. That patent describes hinge joints in the side members of the frame with rigid tubular sleeves which can slide into position over these hinge joints in a locking position. The sleeve is held in position by means of a spring mounted in one of the tubular frame members which tends to continuously urge the sleeve into the locking position.

It has also been known to use a similar type of sleeve with a spring depressable locking button which serves to lock the sleeve in the locking position.

However, it must be appreciated that foldable casualty carriers must not only be compact, lightweight and yet rigid and sturdy in the extended position but they must also be capable of being folded and unfolded with the utmost of case under most adverse conditions, including extremes of weather. Moreover, it may be used in extremely high stress situations and in most awkward surroundings such as wars, revolutions or natural disasters, so that any moving parts associated with the setting up of a casualty carrier must be designed to function in a positive manner under all conceivable conditions and also be the utmost in simplicity.

The spring-loaded sleeves were found to be unsatisfactory for a variety of reasons. For instance they required exposed slots in the tubular frame members with a sliding member in the slots to push the sleeve. These slots not only tended to weaken the frame members but also provided a ready opening for all kinds of extraneous material to become lodged in the spring mechanism. Water frequently got into the mechanism and when this froze, the mechanism became totally inoperable. Dirt, mud, etc. also tended to get into and jam the spring mechanism. Moreover, the slots also permitted blood, vomit, etc. to become lodged within the mechanism.

In the case of the spring-biased button for locking a sleeve in the locked position there are the same problems as above in terms of the button becoming frozen or jammed with debris and there is a further difficulty in having to hold the button down with one hand while using the other hand to slide the sleeve. Particularly under extremely adverse conditions it may be most important to be able to have one hand free to hold the stretcher or assist with a casualty while using the other hand to slide the sleeve into the locking position.

It is the object of the present invention to provide an improved means for positively holding the rigid sleeve in either the locking or folding position while at the same time permitting movement of the sleeve between the lockingand folding positions in a simple manner requiring the use of only one hand.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION According to this invention there is provided a collapsible and portable carrier or stretcher for a patient or casualty comprising a rectangular frame having two end frame members and two side frame members engageable with the end frame members and a bed portion in the form of a flexible sheet support by the frame. Each of the side frame members comprises at least two rigid tubular sections, the end of one tubular section being foldably connected to the end of the next adjacent tubular section by means of a hinged joint. A rigid tubular locking sleeve is slidably mounted on one of the tubular sections adjacent the hinged joint and this sleeve is slidably between a folding position entirely on the one tubular section and a locking position surrounding the hinged joint and telescoping the two sections whereby the two tubular sections are locked in rigid end to end relationship.

According to the novel feature, a resilient O-ring is mounted in an annular recess adjacent the hinged joint. This O-ring is positioned to frictionally engage the sleeve while it is being moved between folding and locking positions and to firmly hold the sleeve in either folding or looking position.

The O-ring can conveniently be made from silicon rubber and it is preferably positioned such that the end of the rigid sleeve is just clear of the O-ring in either the locking or folding position. This prevents the ring from becoming permanently compressed such that it does not positively hold the sleeve in the desired position.

This arrangement of sleeve and O-ring has been found to work extremely well particularly in adverse use conditions and it has been found to be particularly advantageous in its ability to remove any grit, debris etc. which might tend to become caught beneath the sleeve and interfere with its function. It must once again be emphasized that foldable carriers or stretchers of this type must be adapted for use in all kinds of the most extreme conditions so that their operation must be as fool-proof as possible against all kinds of adversities. In other words, the ease with which the rigid sleeve can be slid into position even under extremely adverse conditions becomes a very critical feature in a device of this type.

In terms of compactness and ease of handling, it has been found to be particularly advantageous to provide three hinged joints in each side frame member. These are equally spaced so that the carrier can be folded in a W-configuration. Of course, it is also possible to use one or two hinged joints or even more than three depending upon needs and circumstances.

A flexible sheet preferably forms the bed portion for the stretcher and this sheet comprises a central bed section located within the frame members. The sheet is arranged such that longitudinal spaces exist between the edges of the sheet and'the two side frame members. The sheet is then connected to the side frame members by means of cross straps or ropes connected to the sheet and looping around the side frame members. The provision of this gap between the sheet and the side frame members greatly simplifies the moving of the locking sleeves and also facilitates the use of any additional straping for lashing a casualty atop a fracture board onto the carrier as well as for mounting such ancillary equipment as back supports, head protectors etc.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a foldable stretcher embodying the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a side elevation showing the stretcher in partly folded position;

FIG. 3 is a side elevation showing the stretcher in completely folded position for ease of carrying;

FIG. 4 is a detailed view in partial section showing a hinge connection;

FIG. 5 is a top plan view of a hinge connection; and

FIG. 6 is a side elevation of a hinge plate.

DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENTS An embodiment of the foldable and portable stretcher device of the invention is shown in perspective in FIG. 1 fully assembled and ready to receive a casualty or patient. As shown, the stretcher has a rectangular, tubular frame with a pair of side frame members 10 and a pair of end frame members 11. Mounted within the frame is a flexible sheet 12 forming the bed of the stretcher. The side frame members 10 are made of at least two sections, while four sections 10a, 10b, 10c and 10d are shown in the particular embodiment of FIG. 1. These side frame sections are conveniently made from thin walled tubular duralumin and are joined together end to end according to the invention by means of hinge joints 13.

Each hinge joint comprises solid cylindrical members 14 which can conveniently be formed from aluminum. Each cylindrical member 14 has a pair of opposed ears 15 at one end thereof forming an open-ended slot 16 therebetween. The opposite end of each cylindrical member 14 is in the form of a cylindrical insert 17 of reduced diameter which slides snugly within a tubular side frame member 10. The insert is held in position within the member 10 by means of rivet 18.

A hinge plate or member 1) lies between and is pivoted to said ears 15 by means of hinge pins 20. As can best be seen from FIG. 4, 5 and 6, each hinge plate has a pair of perpendicular end faces 21 merging into a pair of curving corner portions 22. The perpendicular end faces 21 come into contact with the end faces 23 of the slots 16 when the stretcher is opened out for use and this limits the hinge action to one direction only. For convenience of folding it has been found desirable to form the central pair of hinges so as to break upwardly and the other two sets of hinges to break downwardly for folding as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3. Of course, they may equally well break in the opposite directions.

At the junction between the exposed portion of a cylindrical member 14 and the adjacent side frame member 10 is provided an annular recess 24 in member 14 for receiving and holding a flexible O-ring 25. A silicon rubber O-ring has been found to be particularly useful for this purpose.

As a means for locking the hinged joints, there is provided for each joint a rigid sleeve 26 which, as shown in FIG. 4, is slidable between a locking position 26 where it telescopes and locks the joint and a folding position 26' where it is completely free from the hinge thereby permitting easy folding. Rather than using the spring-loaded buttons or spring-biased locking sleeves of the prior art, the locking sleeve of the present invention relies entirely upon the O-ring 25 for holding it either into or out of engagement with the hinged joint. When the stretcher is being set up for use, two sections of the stretcher are swung into aligned end to end relationship and the locking sleeve 26' is grasped by hand and forced over the O-ring 25 and into position 26 where it telescopes the hinge joint. In this position it is passed beyond the O-ring so that the O-ring prevents the sleeve from accidentally coming out of engagement with the hinge during use.

In the particular embodiment shown in FIG. 4, the ends of the locking sleeve 26 have chamfers 27 to ease their sliding over the O ring 25. The distance that the sleeve can move in each direction is limited by means of the projecting rivet heads 18. If desired, the length of the sleeve may be such that a portion thereof is always in contact with the O-ring. This makes the sliding over the O-ring somewhat easier but also has the disadvantage that the O-ring may tend to become permanently compressed thereby decreasing its holding effect on the sleeve.

The remaining portions of the stretcher will now be described for sake of completeness and it will be seen that the end frame members 11 are joined to the side frame members 10a and 10a by means of housing members 28. These housing members 28 also contain telescoping handles 29 which can slide between operational position as shown in FIG. 1 and closed position as shown in FIGS. 2 and 3.

It is also convenient to provide legs 30 on the stretcher and it will be seen that the legs shown in FIGS. 1, 2 and 3 are stacking legs. These are convenient for supporting the flexible sheet 12 off the surface of a floor or the ground and also for stacking a series of already assembled stretchers e.g., in an ambulance using spacer sections having the same fitting.

The flexible sheet 12 forming the bed portion of the stretcher is preferably made from a very strong woven and waterproof fabric. For example, it can be made from a vinyl-coated nylon fabric. It is particularly advantageous to mount the bed 12 between the side frame members 10 with a small gap of about an inch between the edges of the bed and the frame. The bed is supported between the side frame members by means of heavy webbing, e.g., nylon or polyolefin straps 31. These straps extend across between the side frame members 10 and are also sewn to the sheet 12. The ends of the sheet 12 loop around the end frame members 11 and are pulled taut by means of a rope or cord 32 which is looped through grommets 33. If the bed 12 tends to become slack with use, it can be tightened by means of these cords 32.

A further pair of heavy straps are mounted across between side frame members 10a and 10b and these are provided with loops 34 which serve as lifting and handling loops for the stretcher either in the extended or folded position. They are particularly useful when hoisting the stretcher into a helicopter or lowering from a height.

At the head of the stretcher a pair of loops 35 are sewn to the flexible sheet 12 and these are merely convenient loops for various purposes and can, for instance, be used as a mounting for a head and chin extension support for an unconscious patient or casualty.

A pair of shoulder straps 36 are mounted in an upper region of the flexible sheet 12 and these extend over the shoulders of a patient for lashing him to the stretcher as will be described hereinafter. A pair of Velcro loops 37 are provided and these are readily opened and closed and are intended to retain the straps 36 in folded position when not in use. A similar pair of straps 39 are provided in the lower end of the stretcher and these are intended for lashing the feet of the patient to the stretcher. Velcro loops 40 are again provided at the lower end and one of the straps 39 is shown in folded position 3911 within the Velcro loop 40.

In a mid-portion of the flexible sheet 12 is mounted a further pair of straps 38 and these serve as pelvic lashing straps. These loop through the crotch and around the upper thighs in the front to pass through the space between the bed and side frame members and over the cross support straps to fasten together under the stretcher bed. This affords a firm sling support to the pelvis, so that the integrity of the long leg bones need not be relied upon; a valuable feature in the case of fractures of the leg. In addition, since the pelvis is immobilized, positive traction may be applied to the leg for reduction of fractures. This pelvic support is particularly advantageous where a patient on a stretcher is to be hoisted vertically, e.g., when being lifted by means of a helicopter from a dense growth of vegetation such as a forest or jungle.

Also mounted from cross support straps 31 are additional straps 42 which are connected to side flap members 41. The use of these side flap members have been previously described in applicants US. Pat. No. 3,601,824 issued Aug. 31, 1971. These side flaps are made from a flexible sheet material and one of the flaps has along its free edge a series of hooked fasteners 43. Also mounted at the end of each flap are buckles 44. The free edge of the opposite flap has a cord 45 threaded through grommets 46 and the two flaps are intended to be extended over the top of a patient with the loops of the cord 45 being hooked into the hook fasteners 43. The whole assembly can then be tightened over the patient by means of the cord tightener 47.

It will also be noted from FIG. 1 that there is a space provided between the adjacent edge of a flap member and a side frame member 10 so that even when the side flaps are positioned over a patient the side frame members 10 remain fully exposed. This is of great advantage because it greatly facilitates the connecting of ancillary equipment to the stretcher such as a head protection shield, back rest, etc.

I.claim:

1. A collapsible and portable casualty carrier comprising a rectangular frame having two end frame members and two side frame members engageable with the end frame members and a bed portion in the form of a flexible sheet supported by the frame with longitudinal spaces between the side edges of the bed portion and the two side frame members, the bed portion being fixed to the side frame members by means of straps extending across between the side frame members, each of said side frame members comprising three rigid tubular sections, the end of one tubular section being foldably connected to the end of the next adjacent tubular section by means of a hinge joint, each hinge joint comprises a pair of solid cylindrical members fitted within adjacent ends of said tubular side frame members, each cylindrical member having a pair of projecting opposed ears forming a slot therebetween, with the pair of cylindrical members being pivotally joined by means of a plate mounted within the slots and pivotally connected to each pair of opposed ears, a rigid tubular locking sleeve slidably mounted on one of said tubular sections adjacent said hinge joint, said sleeve being slidable between a folding position entirely on said one tubular section and a locking position surrounding the hinge joint whereby the two tubular sections are locked in rigid end to end relationship and a resilient O-ring mounted in an annular recess adjacent said hinge joint, said O-ring being positioned to frictionally engage the sleeve while it is being moved between folding and locking positions and to just clear an end of the sleeve in folding or locking position thereby positively retaining the sleeve in either folding or locking position.

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Classifications
U.S. Classification5/627, 5/628, 5/114, 403/102
International ClassificationA61G1/00, A61G1/013
Cooperative ClassificationA61G1/013
European ClassificationA61G1/013