Patent application title: PHLEBOTOMY CHAIR PROTECTOR
Howard Hassman (Boca Raton, FL, US)
Larry Brownstein (Lafayette Hill, PA, US)
IPC8 Class: AB65H1606FI
Class name: Coil holder or support (e.g., spindle, dispenser, or spool) mounted coil holder or spindle (e.g., dispenser or mandrel) spindle disposed between supports
Publication date: 2013-08-08
Patent application number: 20130200204
A holder for medical paper to cover an examination surface of a
phlebotomy table. The holder includes a crossbar sized to extend across
the examination surface of the phlebotomy table and arms extending from a
first surface of the crossbar. A roller is configured to be removably
supported between the arms a given distance from the first surface of the
crossbar and to support a roll of the medical paper. A table receiving
slot configured to receive a portion of the phlebotomy table is defined
between the crossbar, arms and roller. A paper passage is further defined
relative to the crossbar and defines a passage transversing the crossbar
and limited within a given lateral range.
1. A holder for medical paper, the holder being used to provide the
medical paper to cover an examination surface of a phlebotomy table, the
holder comprising: a crossbar sized to extend across the examination
surface of the phlebotomy table; arms extending from a first surface of
the crossbar; and a roller configured to be removably supported between
the arms a given distance from the first surface of the crossbar and to
support a roll of the medical paper wherein a table receiving slot is
defined between the crossbar, arms and roller, the table receiving slot
configured to receive a portion of the phlebotomy table, and wherein a
paper passage is further defined relative to the crossbar, the paper
passage defining a passage transversing the crossbar and limited within a
given lateral range.
2. The holder according to claim 1 wherein one or more support blocks extends inwardly from the arms between the crossbar and the roller with the table receiving slot defined between the crossbar, the arms and the one or more support blocks.
3. The holder according to claim 2 wherein one or more spacer blocks extends inwardly from the arms between the crossbar and a respective support block with the table receiving slot defined between the one or more spacer blocks, the arms and the one or more support blocks, and the paper receiving slot defined between the crossbar, the arms and the one or more spacer blocks.
4. The holder according to claim 1 wherein one or more spacer blocks extends inwardly from the arms between the crossbar and the roller with the paper receiving slot defined between the crossbar, the arms and the one or more spacer blocks.
5. The holder according to claim 1 wherein one or more spacer blocks extends spaced from a second surface of the crossbar opposite the first surface with the paper receiving slot defined between the crossbar second surface and the one or more spacer blocks.
6. The holder according to claim 1 wherein each arm includes a recess configured to support a respective end of the roller.
7. The holder according to claim 1 wherein the paper receiving slot is defined by the crossbar and the arms and the first surface of the crossbar is smooth to facilitate passage of the paper.
8. A method for covering an examination surface of a phlebotomy table having first and second ends with medical paper, the method comprising: passing the first end of the table through a table receiving slot of a holder, the holder including: a crossbar sized to extend across the examination surface of the phlebotomy table; arms extending from a first surface of the crossbar; and a roller configured to be removably supported between the arms a given distance from the first surface of the crossbar and to support a roll of the medical paper, wherein the table receiving slot is defined between the crossbar, arms and roller, and wherein a paper passage is further defined relative to the crossbar, the paper passage defining a passage transversing the crossbar and limited within a given lateral range; positioning the holder on the table such that the crossbar is supported relative to the examination surface and the arms depend below the table and support the roller below the table; supporting a roll of medical paper from the roller; passing an end of the medical paper from the roller around one of the first and second ends of the phlebotomy table and through the paper receiving passage such that the paper covers a desired portion of the examination surface and is laterally retained by the paper receiving passage.
9. The method of claim 8 wherein the first end is a free end of the table and the paper is passed from the paper roll around the first end.
10. The method of claim 8 wherein the first end is a free end of the table and the paper is passed from the paper roll around the second end.
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
 The present invention relates generally to phlebotomy chairs and in particular discloses a system and method for improving hygiene on a phlebotomy chair examination surface.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
 Working in a clean environment and minimizing cross-contamination is an important safety factor for doctors and other medical staff. A contaminated environment raises the risks of infection and other dangers to the patients and medical professionals. Various methods and devices are known for covering a support surface of a medical examining table. One method typically utilized is covering the medical examining table with sanitary paper supplied from a paper roll. Therefore, the patient contacts the sanitary paper during an examination or a treatment procedure. Following the contact with the patient, removal and disposal of the exposed sanitary paper occurs. The paper is unrolled after each patient such that a fresh portion of paper is positioned on the examining table prior to each use.
 With medical examining tables, the tables are typically of sufficient size to accommodate a patient in a lying position, thereby having a relatively large surface area. The paper rolled on to such relatively large surface area is generally self supported. Additionally, because paper rolls are common practice with respect to examining tables, the roll support is typically built in to the table or connected to the rigid table or frame utilizing screws, bolts or the like.
 While concerns about contamination of medical instruments and facilities have increased, the present inventors have recognized that no protections have been developed for the examination surfaces of phlebotomy chairs. A phlebotomy chair has a sitting surface for the patient and a table coupled to the sitting surface. Typically the table attaches to the sitting surface at a location corresponding to an armrest for a chair, and provides an examination surface that extends forward or across the patient so that the patient may rest an arm upon the examination surface of the table. The examination surface only has to support the arm of a patient, and therefore is relatively narrow.
 There are thousands, if not millions, of phlebotomy examination surfaces in use on a daily basis without provision of fast and easy hygienic safety. There is a need for a device and method that can be easily implemented with these existing phlebotomy examination surfaces or new chairs and provide reliable protection.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
 The present invention maximizes public health and minimizes the spread of contaminants from patient to patient during a medical procedure. The present invention is designed to reduce the likelihood of infectious agents, contaminants and other bodily fluids passing to a patient who is using a phlebotomy chair support surface during a blood test in a hospital, doctor's office or lab. Another aspect of the present invention relates to a method for protecting a phlebotomy surface from contamination. More particularly, embodiments of the present invention provide a barrier to reduce the likelihood that contaminants resulting from the blood drawing procedure will be a threat to the safety of other individuals. Protection of the individual patients and the doctors and office assistants who all come into frequent contact with multiple phlebotomy chairs is of the utmost importance and if not done properly, can lead to a whole host of problems, which can be prevented through the proper installation of the present invention.
 In relation to the field of medical procedures, the present invention allows for the maintaining of a hygienic medical environment as well as protecting not only the various patients who come into contact with the phlebotomy chair, but the doctor as well. Embodiments provide a method and device for protecting the surface of a phlebotomy chair from cross contamination between users. Various embodiments provide for a temporary and removable surface to shield the phlebotomy chair which is easily installed and maintains the paper laterally with respect to the relatively narrow examination surface. Shielding the phlebotomy chair from contamination is desirable to any phlebotomist's office.
 In one embodiment a paper roller with a phlebotomy chair arm attachment is employed to provide complete coverage of the examination surface of a phlebotomy chair. By completely covering the examination surface area of the phlebotomist's chair, such embodiments protect the patient and doctor from contamination as well as acting as an agent for the doctor in maintaining a hygienic environment for all who pass through, including the patients, doctors, any other office workers or assistants, and anyone else who routinely or occasionally comes into contact with the phlebotomist's chair.
 Various embodiment methods include covering the phlebotomy chair examination surface with medical paper. Medical paper is an industry tried and true cover that is more than capable of protecting against viruses, infections, and diseases, and so utilizing these protective properties is beneficial for embodiments of the present invention while allowing for cost savings. By covering the examination surface of a phlebotomy chair such embodiments are able to prevent any potentially harmful contamination from remaining once the sheet of medical paper is removed prior to the arrival of the next patient. After each use the portion of the paper that was in contact with the patient or examination surface is discarded. Discarding the used medical paper, whether or not it has actually been contaminated, significantly reduces any chances of the doctor, office workers, office assistants, and most importantly, the various patients of all ages in varying degrees of health, from being cross-contaminated. By discarding the used sheets of medical paper, such embodiments successfully maintain the integrity of the environment and allow for a cleaner phlebotomy office.
 Various embodiments may be used on phlebotomy chairs in drawing stations, hospitals, doctor's offices and labs. Various embodiments include a holder that is configured to attach to the arm of a phlebotomy chair, a removable roller rotatably mounted to the holder and a roll of medical paper disposed on the roller. The holder is configured so that the roller is disposed under the examination surface of the phlebotomy chair. Paper is extended from the roller to pass around an end of the examination surface and then pass under a crossbar of the holder to cover the examination surface.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
 FIG. 1 is an isometric view of a medical paper holder for a phlebotomy chair in accordance with a first embodiment of the invention.
 FIG. 2 is an isometric view showing the holder of FIG. 1 installed on an examination surface of a exemplary phlebotomy chair.
 FIG. 3 is similar to FIG. 2 and shows the holder in use with a patient resting on the phlebotomy chair.
 FIG. 3a is similar to FIG. 3 and shows a different path of the medical paper.
 FIG. 4 is an end isometric view of the holder of FIG. 1.
 FIG. 5 is an end isometric view of a medical paper holder for use with a phlebotomy chair in accordance with an alternative embodiment of the invention.
 FIG. 6 is an elevation view of the holder of FIG. 5.
 FIG. 7 is an elevation view of a medical paper holder for use with a phlebotomy chair in accordance with another alternative embodiment of the invention.
 Contact with unhygienic surfaces can lead to the spread of infection and disease. The need for proper hygiene is especially critical in medical environments in which patients are vulnerable to contaminating and being contaminated by germs to and from other patients. In addition, many people are anxious or worried during a professional blood test and proper medical hygiene is critical to assuaging some of these fears.
 The present invention was developed for use on the examination surface of phlebotomy chairs to support proper hygiene during the course of drawing blood from a patient. Various embodiments are designed to easily and economically dispense medical paper over the examination surface that will typically come into contact with a patient during blood sampling. The paper protects patients from the surfaces that may be contaminated by blood or other residual bodily materials. Patients may feel more relaxed knowing they are in a clean and safe environment and not at risk of contracting a potential infection or disease from the blood drawing procedure. The holders in accordance with the invention provide a device that can be easily retrofit to existing phlebotomy chairs or incorporated with new chairs and which maintain the paper in a reliable manner along the narrow examination surface.
 Referring to FIGS. 1-4, a medical paper holder 10 for a phlebotomy chair in accordance with a first embodiment of the invention will be described. The holder 10 comprises two arms 20 coupled to respective ends 32 of a crossbar 30; that is, a first end 22 of each arm 20 is fixed to a respective end 32 of the crossbar 30, while the other end 24 of each arm 20 extends perpendicularly away from the crossbar 30. The crossbar 30 preferably has a width 34 that is slightly wider than the width 3 of the phlebotomy table examination surface 9. For example, the crossbar 30 may have a width 34 of from 4.5 to 10 inches, and preferably has a width 34 that is substantially the same as the width 3 of the table 4. The crossbar 30 also preferably has a smooth and flat top surface 36 that is comfortable for a patient to rest an arm on or against. In the present embodiment, the crossbar 30 has a bottom surface 33 configured to rest on the examination surface 9 of the phlebotomy table 4. The bottom surface 33 may have a smooth surface, a roughened surface, or a combination thereof. Both the crossbar 30 and the arms 20 may be made of any suitable material, but are preferably made from plastic, and more preferably are integrally formed with each other, such as by way of standard plastic molding techniques.
 Each arm 20 has a recess or hole 26 sized to accept a pin 42 on a roller 40. For purposes of the following, a recess, which may extend only partway into the material that forms the arm 20, is also intended to include a hole, which may extend completely through the material of the arm 20. Hence, "recess" is a superset that includes "hole." The roller 40 is removably disposed between the arms 20, in which each end of the roller 40 has a pin 42 that slots into the respective recess 26 of the arm 20. Structures other than recesses, e.g. clips, u-shaped cups, may be utilized to support the roller 40. The roller 40 may be formed of two sections that are spring-loaded with respect to each other to bias the pins 42 within their respective recess 26. Alternatively, the roller 40 may be rigid and instead the inherent flexibility of the arms 20 may be employed to retain and remove the roller 40 between the arms 20. Preferably each recess 26 is positioned in its respective arm 20 so that the roller 40 is substantially parallel to the crossbar 30 when fitted into the recesses 26. The roller 40 may be made from any suitable material, such as plastic or wood. A medical paper roll 50 may then be disposed on the roller 40. When all of the paper has been used, the roller 40 may be removed from between the arms 20, a new roll of paper 50 placed on the roller 40, and then the roller 40 with the new roll of paper 50 may be repositioned between the arms 20 via the recesses 26.
 In the present embodiment, a support block 60 extends inward from each arm 20 between the crossbar 30 and the respective recess 26. A distance 28 from the recess 26 to the respective support block 60 is large enough to accommodate the size of the paper roll 50, i.e the distance is preferably at least slightly greater than the radius of an intended paper roll 50. The support blocks 60 are spaced a distance 62 from the crossbar 30 to define a table receiving slot 63. As described hereinafter, the table receiving slot 63 of the present embodiment will also serve as a paper receiving slot. As seen in FIG. 2, the holder 10 can be easily slid over the table 4, with the table 4 extending through the slot 63 between the crossbar 30 and the support blocks 60. With this configuration, the holder 10 is prevented from twisting or tilting relative to the table 4. Alternatively, the blocks 60 may be omitted and the receiving slot will simply be defined between the crossbar 30 and the paper roll 50. In such an embodiment, the crossbar 30 may have a wider cross width (in the direction along the examination surface) to further stabilize the holder 10 relative to the table 4.
 Use of the holder 10 with a phlebotomy chair 1 is shown in FIGS. 2 and 3. The phlebotomy chair 1 has a seat 2 coupled to an armrest or table 4. Typically, only one end 5 of the table 4 is coupled to the chair 2; the other end 6 of the table 4 is thus not attached to the chair 2. The end 5 of the table 4 attached to the chair 2 may be rigidly attached, pivotally attached or the like, as known in the art. Typically, the table 4 is pivotally attached to the chair 2 and may, for example, flip down into position, or the like.
 Because the width 34 of the crossbar 30 exceeds the width 3 of the table 4, the crossbar 30 can be slid over the unattached end 6 of the table 4 towards the attached end 5 of the table 4 with the table 4 passing through the receiving slot 63. The crossbar 30 is positioned at any desired location, e.g. proximate the attached end 5 or proximate the free end 6, as desired and simply sits with the crossbar 30 resting on the examination surface 9 of the table 4. The bottom surface 33 of the crossbar 30 rests securely on the flat examination surface 9. The arms 20 hang down on respective sides of the table 4 so that the roller 40 is suspended under the table 4 and the support blocks 60, if present, stabilize the position. There is thus no need to use fixing or attaching mechanisms to attach the holder 10 to the table 4, and the holder 10 may be easily removed from the table 4 by simply slipping it off the unattached end 6. This makes the holder 10 very amenable to retrofitting to existing phlebotomy chairs.
 As illustrated in FIG. 3, paper from the paper roll 50 is dispensed so that it passes under the table 4 towards the unattached end 6, passes around the unattached end 6 of the table 4 and over the examination surface 9, passing between the crossbar 30 and the examination surface 9, and thereby traversing the crossbar 30, to terminate at the attached end 5 of the table 4. Because the paper is sandwiched between the crossbar 30 and the examination surface 9 and laterally between the arms 20, the paper is held firmly and neatly maintained along the narrow examination surface 9 with reduced risk of sliding laterally off either side. Moreover, when re-covering the table 4 with fresh paper, a user need only pull on the free end of the paper, and then use the edge 38 of the crossbar 30 as a convenient cutting surface with which to cut the used paper from the new paper.
 In the alternative application illustrated in FIG. 3a, paper from the paper roll 50 is dispensed so that it passes around the attached end 5, between the crossbar 30 and the examination surface 9, traversing the crossbar 30, over the examination surface 9, and terminating proximate the unattached end 6 of the table 4. Similar to the previous application, because the paper is sandwiched between the crossbar 30 and the examination surface 9 and laterally between the arms 20, the paper is held firmly and neatly maintained along the narrow examination surface 9 with reduced risk of sliding laterally off either side. Moreover, when re-covering the table 4 with fresh paper, a user need only pull on the free end of the paper, and then tear the paper once the used paper is away from the examination surface.
 Referring to FIGS. 5 and 6, a medical paper holder 10' for use with a phlebotomy chair of an alternative embodiment will be described. The holder 10' is similar to the previous embodiment, but instead of the crossbar 30 sitting directly on the examination surface 9, a spacer block 66 extends from each arm 20 between the support block 60 and the crossbar 30. Each spacer block 66 is spaced from a respective support block 66 by a distance 62' to define the table receiving slot 63. The spacer blocks 66 are spaced from the crossbar 30 by a distance 67 to define a paper passage 68 to allow the paper to be more easily pulled between the holder 10' and the table 4 to traverse the crossbar 30. The crossbar 30, arms 20 and spacer blocks 66 laterally confine the paper to again minimize the risk of the paper sliding laterally off either side of the narrow examination surface 9. In all other ways, the holder 10' operates in the same manner as shown and described with respect to FIGS. 3 and 3a. As in the previous embodiment, the support blocks may not be utilized.
 Referring to FIG. 7, a medical paper holder 10'' for use with a phlebotomy chair of another alternative embodiment will be described. The holder 10'' is similar to the previous embodiments, but instead of the paper receiving slot 68 being defined between the crossbar 30 and the examination surface 9, the spacer blocks 66 extend beyond the crossbar 30 and extend parallel to the top surface 36, spaced at a distance 67', to define the paper receiving slot 37. In the present embodiment, the crossbar 30 will again sit on the examination surface 9, but the paper will not extend therebetween. The paper will extend through the paper receiving slots 68 to transverse the crossbar 30. The crossbar 30 and spacer blocks 66 laterally confine the paper to again minimize the risk of the paper sliding laterally off either side of the narrow examination surface 9. In all other ways, the holder 10'' operates in the same manner as shown and described with respect to FIGS. 3 and 3a. As in the previous embodiments, the support blocks may not be utilized.
 While the support blocks 60 and the spacer blocks 66 are described herein as separate blocks extending from each arm, any of the blocks may be replaced by a single component extending between both arms 20.
 When properly installed, embodiments of the present invention provide a method for and in use on a phlebotomy chair that satisfy a long-felt need in the art for providing convenient hygienic surfaces to phlebotomy chairs. After the blood drawing procedure for a patient is complete, the used paper is simply rolled off, and is easily torn away and placed into a garbage or recycling receptacle. As needed, the paper is re-dispensed for each patient.
 The Universal Precautions and Body Substance Isolation urge the use of non-porous protective covers such as gloves, masks, gowns, and protective eyewear to reduce the risk of exposure to potentially infectious material. Further, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA) requires health care workers to wear gloves when they come in contact with patients. These precautions are predominantly effective in protecting against the spread of infectious agents from the patient to health care worker and from health care worker to patient. In addition, health care workers are required to dispose of medical gloves and to dispose of or sterilize instruments in between patients in order to address patient-to-patient transfer of infections agents.
 While there are mandatory methods and devices in use to prevent the contamination of a medical worker from being contaminated by a patient, there is no such policy in protecting patients from the cross-contamination that may occur through fluids from other patients. In an environment in which blood is being taken and potentially contaminating a surface, such as the examination surface 9, it is critical to take measures to protect medical workers and patients alike.
 Blood is capable of spreading many diseases, which are known as blood-borne diseases. The most common examples are HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C and viral hemorrhagic fevers. Since it is difficult to determine what pathogens any given blood contains, and some blood-borne diseases are lethal, standard medical practice regards all blood (and any body fluids) as potentially infective. Blood and body fluid precautions are a type of infection control practice that seeks to minimize this sort of disease transmission. Some experts say that blood poses the greatest threat to health in a laboratory or clinical setting due in part to needle disposal techniques and also because surfaces are not sterilized between use. Blood is potentially one of if not the most harmful contaminant that embodiments of the present invention are specifically designed to prevent against. Blood transfers carries, and spreads, every disease known to man and because of this simple, yet devastating fact, embodiments of the present invention should be implemented in all phlebotomist' s offices, on all of their chairs.
 Although the invention herein has been described with reference to particular embodiments, it is to be understood that these embodiments are merely illustrative of the principles and applications of the present invention. It is therefore to be understood that numerous modifications may be made to the illustrative embodiments and that other arrangements may be devised without departing from the spirit and scope of the present invention as defined by the following claims.
Patent applications by Howard Hassman, Boca Raton, FL US
Patent applications in class Spindle disposed between supports
Patent applications in all subclasses Spindle disposed between supports