US 3897777 A
A head restraint for immobilizing the head of an injured person to prevent the aggravation or extension of his injuries during transportation and examination. A pair of flexible plastic laminae are sealingly bonded together along seams defining and surrounding a generally U-shaped inflatable envelope having a trapezoidally shaped, uninflated central web. The legs of the U-shaped envelope are inflatable into a pair of spaced, pillow-like major lobes which support the sides of the head. An inflatable minor lobe extends between the major lobes adjacent a side of the web for supporting the neck. One or two belts are tied over the restrained head, around the restraint and under a support surface to clamp the major lobes conformingly against opposite sides of the head. Alternatively, a pillow casing encloses the inflated laminae for conformingly clamping the lobes.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent 1191 Morrison 1 1 HEAD RESTRAINT Robert D. Morrison. Worthington. Ohio [75I lnventor:
 Filed: May 23. 1974 [211 Appl. No: 472.529
 LLS. C1. 128/133: 5/327; 128/83;
[51) Int. Cl. A6IF [3/00  Field of Search 128/133. 134. DIG. 20.
l28/1h3.D1G. 23. 83. 69. 7t). 87. 75'. 5/327 R. 327 B. 338. 3371269/322-328. 27/211248/118 |56| References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 941.1143 Il/l9ll9 Powell 5/338 1.795.893 3/1931 Rusutt 128/D1G. 2(1
2.033.779 3/1936 Monk. 5/327 8 2.199.479 5/1941! Cappel 5/338 2.589.155 3/1952 Smith l28/D1G. 23
2.943.859 7/1961! Koski ct a1 123/133 X 3.484.096 12/1909 Briggs 269/328 3.655.178 4/1972 \"c/jnanunm 269/323 3.672.364 M1972 Rankin 128/83 3.762.404 Ill/19 3 Sakita 128/D1G. 21)
1 1 Aug. 5, 1975 3.783.863 1/1974 Klievcr 128/134 FOREIGN PATENTS OR APPLICATIONS 1.350.754 12/1963 France 128/D1G. 20
Primary E.\'umim'rRichard A. Gaudet Ass/stun! Examiner-Henry J. Recla Attorney. Agent. or Firm-Frank H. Foster 5 7 1 ABSTRACT A head restraint for immobilizing the head of an injured person to prevent the aggravation or extension of his injuries during transportation and examination. A pair of flexible plastic laminae are sealingly bonded together along seams defining and surrounding a generally Ushaped inflatable envelope having a trapezoidally shaped. uninflated central Web. The legs of the U-shaped envelope are inflatable into a pair of spaced. pillow-like major lobes which support the sides of the head. An inflatable minor lobe extends between the major lobes adjacent a side of the web for supporting the neck. One or two belts are tied over the restrained head. around the restraint and under a support surface to clamp the major lobes conformingly against opposite sides of the head. Alternatively. a pillow casing encloses the inflated laminae for conformingly clamping the lobes.
6 Claims. 10 Drawing Figures PATENTED AUG 5M5 SHEET PATENTEU AUG 5 I975 SHEET PATENTEU AUG 51975 3' 897. 777
sum 3 HEAD RESTRAINT BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates generally to human body splints and braces for restraining the head of a human. More particularly this invention relates to a device for immobilizing the head of an injured person so that it will not move and cause further injury during transportation of the injured person from the scene of an injury to an ambulance, and subsequently to a medical facility or in a medical facility during examination, such as the taking of x-ray photographs.
Special precautions need to be observed in the movement of a person after an injury. Although such persons must be moved to a medical facility where their injuries can be accurately diagnosed and be given proper treatment, the person should be moved in a manner which does not cause further injury. Frequently, injuries, especially those incurred from an automobile accident, are such that movement of the body is likely to cause further injury or to substantially aggravate existing injuries. For example, in neck or cervical spine injuries, such as whip lash, fractures or dislocations, any movement of the head relative to the spine may seriously aggravate the injury condition. Therefore, while it is desirable to transport an injured person to a hospital or similar medical facility as quickly as possible, it should not be done so rapidly that precautions against further injury are not taken.
Of course, the ordinary cot, stretcher or litter is an attempt to take into account the necessity for maintaining an injured person in an immobile position. However, such a support platform still permits the head of the injured person to move relative to the spine. The undesirable relative motion includes rotation of the head about the axis of the spine, pivotal neck bending movement and worse of all a shearing or separation movement. The injured person is most susceptible to such potentially harmful motion when he is moved into an awaiting ambulance and when removed from the ambulance to the hospital cot of the medical facility.
Two types of devices have been previously suggested to restrain the head of an injured person. Some support surfaces for transporting injured persons are provided with belts or straps which are tied around the support surface and the head of the injured person to hold the head in a relatively fixed position.
The second means previously suggested is a helmet designed to surround and envelope the back, sides and top of the head. Typical helmet systems include both inflatable envelopes entirely surrounding the head as well as solid blocks of materials such as rigid foam plastic having a contoured cavity for receiving the head.
The simple strap tie down system, although simple and easy to operate, does an inefficient job of securing the head. Straps tied around the head and support surface permit some rotating movement of the head because the head is secured primarily by frictional engagement between the head and the straps. The helmet devices not only are ordinarily large and bulky but are unusually complex and time consuming to manipulate into an operable position. For example, one such device is shown in U.S. Pat. No. 3,397,688. This device requires extensive manipulation for the attachment of a system of straps which must be threaded beneath the armpits of the injured person to form a harness. Devices of this type which are inflatable also require a substantial internal network of spacers which are needed to make the helmet conform to the head. This contoured conformation is of course the concept around which the helmet devices are designed.
In addition, devices of the helmet type require that the head be straightened into alignment with the cavity of the helmet prior to its placement in the helmet. Consequently, with some of these devices, the additional trauma to the patient caused by attachment of the restraint device could be worse than the potential trauma from movement during transportation without a restraint.
Desirably, a head restraint takes up very little storage space in an ambulance or emergency vehicle. However, it is easily and quickly accessible to the paramedics who arrive on the scene of the injury and would be easily and quickly manipulatible into effective operation.
When the ambulance arrives at a medical facility or hospital and a patient is removed for treatment, it is desirable that the ambulance driver, paramedics and equipment not be kept idle just waiting for the return of the head restraint equipment. However, if the head restraint equipment is expensive, an ambulance, which otherwise could be providing further service, is immobilized waiting for a piece of equipment.
There is, therefore a need for a head restraint which can be folded into a small package for storage, very quickly unfolded and inflated to an operable condition and easily installed upon the patient and which can be operably positioned without necessitating any significant movement of the patient during installation. There is also a need for a restraint which can immobilize the head of the patient in whatever position it is found subsequent to an injury. There is further a need for such a device which is radiotransparent so that it may be left in position during the taking of x-rays for diagnosing the injury. Additionally, it would be desirable to have such a restraint which is so inexpensive that it may be disposed of and consequently does not cause an idle delay of the emergency equipment.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION The invention is a head restraint for immobilizing the head of an injured person, who is supine upon a support surface, against movement relative to the person's spine. The restraint comprises a pair of spaced, resilient pillow-like major lobes joined at an inner side of each by a relatively central web and a drawing means for drawing the major lobes into conformingly clamping engagement on opposite sides of an interposed head.
It is therefore an object of the invention to provide an improved head restraint of the type described above.
A further object of the invention is to provide a head restraint which can restrain the head in whatever position it is found.
Another object of the invention is to provide a head restraint of maximum simplicity which may be quickly and easily installed in its operable, functioning position to immobilize the head of an injured person.
Another object of the invention is to provide an inexpensive head restraint which can be stored in a small package, which can potentially be disposed of after use and which is radiotransparent.
It is another object of the invention to provide an inflatable restraint which can alternatively be filled with hot or cold water for the theraputic treatment of earaches or fever.
Another object of the invention is to provide a head restraint which can be used as a cosmetic aid for retaining a head upon which hair curlers are operably positioned or with hair set in place.
Further objects and features of the invention will be apparent from the following specification and claims when considered in connection with the accompanying drawings illustrating several embodiments of the invention.
DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a plan view of an uninflated preferred embodiment of the invention.
FIG. 2 is a view in perspective of the preferred embodiment of the invention illustrated in FIG. 1 inflated and operable positioned about the head of an injured person.
FIG. 3 is a view in vertical section taken substantially along the lines 33 of FIG. 2.
FIG. 4 is a view in vertical section taken substantially along the lines 44 of FIG. 3.
FIG. 5 is a view in vertical section of an alternative embodiment of the invention.
FIG. 6 is a bottom view illustrating yet another alternative embodiment of the invention in an uninflated condition.
FIG. 7 is a view in vertical section similar to the view of FIG. 4 but illustrating the operable positioning of the alternative embodiment of the invention illustrated in FIG. 6.
FIG. 8 is a top plan view of an uninflated restraint embodying the invention and illustrates an alternative positioning of an alternative type of rigidifying board in a pocket formed in the restraint.
FIG. 9 is a diagrammatic view of a relaxed, unused restraint embodying the invention and utilizing a casing as a drawing means.
FIG. 10 is a diagrammatic view of the restraint of FIG. 9 with a head operably positioned therein.
In describing the preferred embodiments of the invention illustrated in the drawings, specific terminology will be resorted to for the sake of clarity. However, it is not intended to be limited to the specific terms so selected and it is to be understood that each specific term includes all technical equivalents which operate in a similar manner to accomplish a similar purpose.
DETAILED DESCRIPTION FIG. I illustrates a head restraint 4 embodying the present invention. It is manufactured from a pair of rectangular flexible synthetic resin or plastic sheets 6 and 8 such as top sheet 6 which are heat-sealed, such as by dielectric heating, or equivalently bonded along an air tight seam 12 around its perimeter. Similarly, an-
, other seam 14 which forms three sides of a trapezoid is formed around the central portion of the head restraint to define an uninflatable trapezoidal web 16.
The flexible sheet material advantageously is provided with a selected polymeric content so that it will not get hard and crack in cold weather. For example, 16 mil cold workable vinyl film either transparent or preferably colored signal yellow might be used.
A short strap I7 with cooperating male and female snap fasteners can be heat sealed to the restraint so that it can be removably fastened to the tubular frame of an ambulance stretcher or cot.
A closable fluid inlet means 18, such as an air valve of the type conventionally used in air matresses and the like, is provided so that the head restraint may be inflated. The restraint is inflatable into a pair of spaced, inflatable, pillowlike major lobes 20 and 22 joined by the trapezoidally shaped central uninflatable web 16 at its oblique sides.
An inflatable, minor, pillow-like lobe 24 extends between the major lobes 20 and 22 adjacent the shorter of the two parallel sides of the trapezoidal web 16. Thus, as shown in FIGS. 2-4, the minor lobe 24 supports the persons neck, the major lobes 20 and 22 support the sides of the head and the trapezoidal shape of the web 16 permits the major lobes 20 and 22 to be more approximately aligned with the contours of the head.
Therefore, the preferred embodiment advantageously comprises a pair of laminae which are sealingly bonded together along air tight seams defining and surrounding a generally U-shaped inflatable envelope having an uninflated generally trapezoidally shaped central portion arranged with its shorter parallel side adjacent the leg joining portion of the U-shaped envelope. The legs of the U-shaped envelope are inflatable into contoured pillows for clamping to the sides of the head while this leg joining portion forms a minor lobe supportive of the neck.
FIGS. 2-4 illustrate an injured person 26 who is supine upon a support surface 28 such as a carrying board. The uninflated web 16 has been interposed be tween the head 29 of the injured person and the support surface 28. The major lobes 20 and 22 are shown inflated in supporting relationship on the opposite sides of the head 29. The minor lobe 24 supports the persons neck.
A drawing means such as a pair of belts or straps 30 and 32 surround the head, the restraint device and the support surface 28. The belts 30 and 32 are tightened to conformingly clamp the major lobes 20 and 22 compressively against opposite sides of the head 29 and to hold the clamped head rigidly upon the support surface 28. The straps 30 and 32 have fastening means such as a buckle or as illustrated and preferred a Velcro fastener 34 for connecting the opposite ends of the belts tightly together. Adhesive tape may alternatively be used as the drawing means.
In operation, a preferred embodiment of the invention is folded and stored for example, in a small envelope-like wrapper. Preferably, a supply of several similarly packaged head restraints are available in the emergency vehicle.
The para-medic at the scene withdraws a device embodying the present invention from its wrapper and unfolds it preparatory to inflation. Preferably, the device is then inflated and positioned on a support surface, such as a stretcher or litter, A pumping bulb outfitted with a check valve and a coupling, mating with inlet means 18, may be provided for hand inflation. Alternatively, the restraint may be mouth inflated. The injured person is then moved by conventional techniques onto the support surface and the head restraint.
Alternatively, of course, the inflated preferred embodiment of the invention can be positioned under the head of the injured person after he has been positioned upon the support surface. This of course, necessitates some slight lifting of the head in orderto slip the minor lobe 24 past the back of the head and beneath the nape of the neck. Of course, as a third alternative the web 16 may be slid under the head prior'to inflation of the head restraint. The restraint is subsequently inflated thereby avoiding unnecessary movement of the head."
With the head between the inflated major lobes 20 and 22, the belts 30 and 32 are thenpassed beneath the support surface 28 and across the top of the head 29 where they are pulled tightly to clamp the head between the slightly compressed major lobes 20 and 22. Because of the flexible nature of the material of which the restraint is constructed, and because the major lobes 20 and 22 are joined to the central web l6primarily along a relatively straight line, these major pillow-like lobes can pivot easily against the sides of the head into clamping relationship. This characteristic permits the major lobes to clamp the head in a fixed position regardless of whether or not the head is rotated from the straight forward position illustrated in FIGS. 2-4. The head can be clamped and retained in any position.
FIG. 5 illustrates a head restraint 50 substantially identical to the head restraint illustrated in FIGS. 1-4 except that a third, substantially rectangular layer 52 is heat sealed or equivalently bonded along three of its sides beneath the head restraint to form a pocket 54. A rigid flat sheet 56 of material can be inserted in this pocket and formed, if desired, with a tongue extending out of the pocket and behind the torso of an injured person. The head restraint can then be used in the absence of a normal support surface or can be used to immobilize the head ofa person caught for example in the wreckage of a vehicle. The tongue portion of the flat sheet extending behind the torso of the injured person can be affixed to the torso by adhesive tape or by one or more straps to fix the rigid sheet relative to the spine of the person. The head restraint embodying the present invention would then be attached to the head in the manner described above. The person may subsequently be removed from the wreckage and placed upon a conventional support surface for transport to the hospital with the head restraint already in place and the head retained in the desired position.
As still another alternative embodiment of the invention the pocket and the rigid flat sheet could be equivalently formed by a single layer of rigid plastic bonded to the head restraint.
FIGS. 6 and 7 illustrate yet another alternative embodiment of the invention. The head restraint 60 of FIG. 6 is substantially identical to the head restraint illustrated in FIGS. 1-4 except that there is additionally provided a third layer or lamina 62 of flexible plastic bonded to the underside of the restraint to form a series of inflatable ribs 66 which can be inflated to rigidify the head restraint. A non-skid coating or material can be used on these ribs so that the restraint can be laid upon a support platform without slippage relative to the person s body. The support straps can then be attached to the outer edges of the major lobes so that they would not have to be wound entirely around the assembled unit.
Various other alternative embodiments of the invention are, of course, also possible. For example, the invention could embody a pair of independent major lobes not joined by the neck supporting minor lobe and which are independently inflated. Such a pair of lobes joined by the trapezoidally shaped central web would mary laminae.
FIG. 8 illustrates such a pocket formed in a restraint 70. With a slit 72 cut through only one layer a winged rigidifying board 74 may be slipped into the pocket 76.
FIGS. 9 and 10 illustrate still another alternative embodiment of the invention. A casing somewhat like a pillow case and preferably constructed of a similar material extends laterally around the major lobes 82 and 84 and the web 86. This casing 80 has a circumferential or peripheral dimension smaller than the corresponding peripheral dimension of the lobes and web so that the lobes are somewhat drawn together by it. However, although the lobes are somewhat drawn together by the relaxed casing 80 they are still far enough apart that a head can be lowered against the casing and between the lobes.
When the head is lowered in this manner, the casing operates as the drawing means by drawing the major lobes in clamping engagement on opposite sides of the lowered head.
The restraint may be used with no other drawing means. Alternatively, if even greater restraint is desired the restraint with a casing can additionally be used with the other types of drawing means previously disclosed such as an encircling strap 88 as shown in FIG. 10.
From the above description it will now become obvious that the lobes of the restraint could be made from molded or sculptured resilient foam such as a polyurethane foam. The firm resilience of such a foam would permit it to have many of the advantageous characteristics of the inflated embodiment of the invention.
From the above, it can be seen that I have provided a head restraint which is simple, easy and inexpensive to construct and requires a minimum of space to store and is easy to inflate to an operable position. It is likewise easy to attach to the human body and enables the head to be restrained in any position. Because of the inexpensive materials of which it is made and because of its simplicity of construction, it may be disposable.
It is to be understood that while the detailed drawings and specific examples given describe preferred embodiments of the invention, they are for purposes of illustration only, that the apparatus of the invention is not limited to the precise details and conditions disclosed and that various changes may be made therein without departing from the spirit of the invention which is defined by the following claims.
What is claimed is:
l. A body restraint for immobilizing a body part of a person, said restraint comprising:
a. a pair of spaced, resilient. pillow-like major lobes joined at an inner side of each by a relatively central web; and
b. a supporting and drawing means comprising a casing of flexible sheet material extending laterally around said major lobes and said web and having a circumferential dimension less than the corresponding peripheral dimension of said spaced lobes and web but great enough to permit a body part to be lowered against the casing intermediate said major lobes for depressing said casing into a sling for receiving and supporting a body part and simultaneously drawing said major lobes inwardly into clamping engagement with said body part.
2. A restraint according to claim 1 wherein there is additionally provided a rigid support surface upon which said restraint rests and at least one flexible belt having fastening means for connecting opposite ends of said belt for surrounding said restraint, said body part and said support surface for further restraining and clamping said body part between said major lobes.
3. A restraint according to claim 1 wherein said lobes comprise a resilient foam.
4. A restraint according to claim 1 wherein said major lobes are inflatable and are constructed of a fluid impervious flexible sheet material having a closable fluid inlet means formed therein.
5. A restraint according to claim 1 wherein said web is generally trapezoidally shaped having said lobes formed adjacent its opposite oblique sides.
6. A restraint according to claim 1 formed by a pair of generally rectangular synthetic resin laminae sealingly bonded together along seams defining and surrounding a generally U-shaped inflatable envelope having an uninflated, generally trapezoidally shaped central portion arranged with its shorter parallel side adjacent the leg-joining portion of the U-shaped envelope. =0 i it