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Title:
AMBULANCE COT DOCKING ASSEMBLY AND PATIENT SUPPORT ARTICULATION FEATURES
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2007/123571
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
An ambulance cot and accessories therefor. The ambulance cot has (1) a docking mechanism for facilitating an anchoring of the litter frame to the floor of the cargo area of an ambulance; (2) an articulated patient support deck on the litter frame capable of raising and lowering a head section while simultaneously raising and lowering a foot section or orienting the foot section to form an inverted V-shaped gatch supporting the knees at a position elevated with respect to the patient's hip; (3) a pair of stowable pull handles at opposite ends of the ambulance cot are provided to facilitate an ease of manipulation of the ambulance cot while the wheels are engaged with the floor for transport of the patient from one location to another; (4) an upstanding push bar in each of the four corners of the cot; and (5) a support of an incubator assembly.

Inventors:
LAMBARTH, Clifford, E. (10801 Cora Drive, Portage, MI, 49002, US)
KAMMERS, Adam, D. (732 Whites Road, Kalamazoo, MI, 49008, US)
COLVIN, Joshua (54101 Ridgeview Circle, Paw Paw, MI, 49079, US)
KRUSE, Daniel, K. (5829 Cheshire Street, Portage, MI, 49002, US)
NAHAVANDI, Kurosh (9121 West End Drive, Portage, MI, 49002, US)
KNIPFEL, Steve (2224 Prosperity Drive, Portage, MI, 49002, US)
PETERSEN, Maxwell (3563 Bent Tree Lane, Stow, OH, 44224, US)
STEFFLER, Michael, W. (2508 Glenwood Drive, Kalamazoo, MI, 49008, US)
WAY, Christopher, B. (184 West Crooked Lake Drive, Kalamazoo, MI, 49009, US)
Application Number:
US2006/038404
Publication Date:
November 01, 2007
Filing Date:
September 29, 2006
Export Citation:
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Assignee:
STRYKER CORPORATION (2725 Fairfield Road, P.O. Box 4085Kalamazoo, MI, 49003-4085, US)
LAMBARTH, Clifford, E. (10801 Cora Drive, Portage, MI, 49002, US)
KAMMERS, Adam, D. (732 Whites Road, Kalamazoo, MI, 49008, US)
COLVIN, Joshua (54101 Ridgeview Circle, Paw Paw, MI, 49079, US)
KRUSE, Daniel, K. (5829 Cheshire Street, Portage, MI, 49002, US)
NAHAVANDI, Kurosh (9121 West End Drive, Portage, MI, 49002, US)
KNIPFEL, Steve (2224 Prosperity Drive, Portage, MI, 49002, US)
PETERSEN, Maxwell (3563 Bent Tree Lane, Stow, OH, 44224, US)
STEFFLER, Michael, W. (2508 Glenwood Drive, Kalamazoo, MI, 49008, US)
WAY, Christopher, B. (184 West Crooked Lake Drive, Kalamazoo, MI, 49009, US)
International Classes:
A61G1/00; A61B1/06; A61G1/02; A61G1/04
Domestic Patent References:
2005-11-10
2002-05-23
Foreign References:
US2958873A1960-11-08
US4037871A1977-07-26
US5537700A1996-07-23
US4097941A1978-07-04
DE8711456U11987-10-08
US1958494A1934-05-15
US4489449A1984-12-25
US20020056162A12002-05-16
US6766547B12004-07-27
US4579381A1986-04-01
US20060031990A12006-02-16
US20050241063A12005-11-03
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
BOUTELL, David, G. (FLYNN, THIEL BOUTELL & TANIS, P.C.,2026 Rambling Roa, Kalamazoo MI, 49008-1631, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:

What is claimed is:

1. An ambulance cot having a head end and a foot end, comprising: a first frame; a second frame; a latch frame secured to said second frame; an elevation mechanism interconnecting said first and second frames to facilitate a guidance of said first and second frames toward and away from one another; a docking mechanism mounted on said first frame and being operative in response to said elevating mechanism having guided said first and second frames toward one another, said docking mechanism including a locking mechanism movable between first and second positions, said first position being free of an operative relation with said latch frame, said second position effecting an operative engaging relation with said latch frame to lock said first frame to said second frame .

2. The ambulance cot according to Claim 1, wherein said docking mechanism includes a docking frame defining an opening oriented on said first frame at said head end thereof, said locking mechanism including at least one lever arm pivotally mounted on said docking frame and moveable between said first and second positions, said lever arm including on one arm a member longitudinally aligned with said opening on said docking frame and including on another arm a hook configured to operatively engage said latch frame only when said lever arm is in said second position thereof.

3. The combination of an ambulance cot and an ambulance having a cargo area, comprising: first and second frames on said ambulance cot; a latch frame secured to said second frame;

an elevation mechanism interconnecting said first and second frames to facilitate a guidance of said first and second frames toward and away from one another; a docking mechanism mounted on said first frame and being operative in response to said elevating mechanism having guided said first and second frames toward one another, said docking mechanism including a locking mechanism movable between first and second positions, said first position being free of an operative relation with said latch frame, said second position being in an operative engaging relation with said latch frame to lock said first frame to said second frame; and an ambulance cot holding mechanism, said holding mechanism including a first stanchion mounted in said cargo area of said ambulance and configured to operatively connect to said docking mechanism and effect, upon connection, a movement of said locking mechanism from said first position to said second position.

4. The combination according to Claim 3, wherein said first stanchion is mounted to a floor of said cargo area, and said docking mechanism includes a docking frame defining an opening oriented on said first frame at said head end of said ambulance cot, said locking mechanism including at least one lever arm pivotally mounted on said docking frame and moveable between said first and second positions, said lever arm including one arm longitudinally aligned with said opening on said docking frame and including on another arm a hook configured to operatively engage said latch frame only when said lever arm is in said second position thereof.

5. The combination according to Claim 4, wherein said first stanchion includes an extension configured to be received in said opening in said docking frame in response to said ambulance cot being moved toward said first stanchion during a loading of said ambulance cot into said cargo area,

said extension being additionally configured to engage said one arm to initiate a pivoting of at least one lever arm in response to a continued movement of said ambulance cot toward said first stanchion to eventually cause said hook to operatively engage said latch frame.

6. The combination according to Claim 5, wherein said ambulance cot holding mechanism further includes a second stanchion mounted in said cargo area and being configured to latch onto said second frame adjacent a foot end of said ambulance cot the moment said lever arm becomes oriented in said second position.

7. An ambulance cot, comprising: a first frame; a second frame having a patient support deck thereon; a plurality of castered wheels, each of said castered wheels having a first part mounted on said first frame and a second part supported for rotation on said first part about a vertically upright axis and through a 360° angle with respect to said first part; at least one of said castered wheels having a releasable locking mechanism configured to prevent a rotation of said second part relative to said first part, said releasable locking mechanism including a receptacle on one of said first and second parts and a pin on the other of said first and second parts and being configured for movement into and out of said receptacle, a reception of said pin in said receptacle preventing said rotation of said second part relative to said first part, and a handle on said first frame operatively moveable between first and second positions and connected to said pin for facilitating movement of said pin into and out of said receptacle in response to corresponding movements of said handle between said first and second positions.

8. The ambulance cot according to Claim 7, wherein said releasable locking mechanism additionally includes a resilient device for continually urging said pin toward said receptacle, said handle in said first position thereof being configured to hold said pin retracted from said receptacle against said urging of said resilient device and in said second position thereof allowing said resilient device to urge said pin toward said receptacle.

9. The ambulance cot according to Claim 8, wherein said receptacle is fixedly located on said second part and is movable therewith through the aforesaid 360° angle, a distal end of said pin being resiliently urged into engagement with said second part in response to said handle being in said first position and as said first and second parts rotate with respect to one another and being urged into said receptacle the moment said receptacle becomes aligned with said pin.

10. An ambulance cot, comprising: a wheeled base; a patient litter, said patient litter comprising: a pair of hollow, longitudinally extending side rails, the side rails configured to extend from a head end to a foot end of the patient litter; and a retractable, generally U-shaped foot section, said foot section having a pair of parallel legs connected by a cross rail, the legs being configured to be slidably received into the interior of the respective longitudinally extending side rails.

11. An ambulance cot, comprising: a wheeled base; a patient litter, said patient litter comprising: a pair of longitudinally extending side rails, the side rails configured to extend from a head end to a foot end of the patient litter;

a patient support deck mounted on said pair of longitudinally extending side rails and extending laterally therebetween, said patient support deck including a head section, a seat section and a foot section, said foot section being hinged with respect to said pair of longitudinally extending side rails and said seat section and configured for movement between a first position wherein said foot section is located in a plane that is parallel to a plane of said seat section and a second position oriented in a plane that is inclined to said plane of said seat section.

12. The ambulance cot according to Claim 11, wherein said foot section includes a thigh section and a calf section hingedly connected together at a hinged joint.

13. The ambulance cot according to Claim 12, wherein said foot section includes a handle oriented adjacent said hinged joint.

14. The ambulance cot according to Claim 12, wherein said foot section includes a pair of handles each oriented adjacent said hinged joint but on opposite lateral sides of said foot section.

15. The ambulance cot according to Claim 11, wherein said foot section includes a releasable locking mechanism that becomes automatically employed in response to a movement of said foot section from said first position to said second position for releasably holding said foot section in said second position.

16. The ambulance cot according to Claim 15, wherein said foot section includes a handle oriented at a foot end thereof and is configured to move between first and second positions, and a linkage interconnecting said handle and said releasable locking mechanism for facilitating an unlocking of

said releasable locking mechanism in response to a movement of said handle from said first position to said second position.

17. The ambulance cot according to Claim 12, wherein said foot section includes a releasable locking mechanism that becomes automatically employed in response to a movement of said thigh section relative to said calf section to form an inverted V patient support surface for releasably holding said thigh section and said calf section in said inverted V position.

18. The ambulance cot according to Claim 17, wherein said foot section includes a handle oriented at a foot end thereof and is configured to move between first and second positions, and a linkage interconnecting said handle and said releasable locking mechanism for facilitating an unlocking of said releasable locking mechanism in response to a movement of said handle from said first position to said second position.

19. An ambulance cot, comprising: a wheeled base;

. a patient litter having a head end and a foot end; a support structure interconnecting said wheeled base to said patient litter; at least one pull handle connected to at least one of said head end and said foot end of said patient litter, said pull handle including a first part hingedly connected at a first hinged joint at one end to said at least one of said head end and said foot end of said patent litter and hingedly connected at a second hinged joint at another end to a second part having a handle at an end thereof remote from said patient litter, said first and second parts being pivotal with respect to one another about said second hinged joint between a first position wherein said first and second parts are aligned end to end and a second position wherein said first and second parts are side-by-side oriented.

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20. The ambulance cot according to Claim 19, wherein said pull handle includes a locking sleeve that is slidable lengthwise of one of said first and second parts toward and away from the other of said first and second parts to enshroud said second hinged joint to facilitate a preventing of said first and second parts from relative pivotal movement.

21. The ambulance cot according to Claim 19, wherein said first and second parts include a magnet so that when said first and second parts are side-by-side oriented, said magnets will attract to hold said first and second parts in said second position.

22. The ambulance cot according to Claim 19, wherein said first hinged joint includes a releasable locking mechanism for holding said side-by-side oriented first and second parts in a stowed position oriented beneath said patient litter.

23. The ambulance cot according to Claim 22, wherein said releasable locking mechanism includes a spring clip mounted on said first part and having a barb-like configuration slidingly engaging a peripheral surface of a component of said at one of said head end and said foot end of said patient litter, said peripheral surface having an abutment in a path of movement of said spring clip as said first hinged joint facilitates a movement of said first part relative to said component to cause said barb-like configuration to move past said abutment and releasably engage said abutment in response to a return movement of said first part relative to said component to prevent any further relative movement.

24. The ambulance cot according to Claim 23, wherein said releasably engagement of said barb-like configuration with said abutment is configured to be overcome by an application of a sufficient force greater than a weight component of said handle.

25. An ambulance cot, comprising: a wheeled base; a patient litter having a head end and a foot end; a support structure interconnecting said wheeled base to said patient litter; at least one push bar upstandingly connected to said patient litter adjacent one of said head end and a foot end thereof, said push bar being configured to be manually engaged by an attendant for facilitating a manual manipulation of said ambulance cot .

26. The ambulance cot according to Claim 25, wherein said support structure is configured to facilitate a change in elevation of said patient litter relative to said wheeled base, a height of a terminal upper end of said push bar being oriented a sufficient distance above said patient litter so that when said support structure locates said patient litter close to said base, said push rod will be conveniently oriented for manual engagement by an attendant .

27. The ambulance cot according to Claim 25, wherein said push bar is L-shaped, an upper end of said push bar extending generally horizontally and laterally of said ambulance cot.

28. The ambulance cot according to Claim 27, wherein said support structure is configured to facilitate a change in elevation of said patient litter relative to said wheeled base, a height of said horizontally extending upper end of said push bar being oriented a sufficient distance above said

patient litter so that when said support structure locates said patient litter close to said base, said horizontally extending upper end will be conveniently oriented for manual engagement by an attendant.

29. The ambulance cot according to Claim 28, wherein said horizontally extending upper end of said push bar is supported for movement between first and second 180° spaced apart laterally extending orientations.

30. The ambulance cot according to Claim 25, wherein said patient litter includes a bracket in each corner, each said bracket having a socket therein conforming to the shape of a lower end of each said push bar to facilitate a reception of said lower end therein, each said bracket including a releasable locking mechanism for locking each said push bar into a respective one of said sockets.

31. An ambulance cot, comprising: a wheeled base; a patient litter having a head end and a foot end, said patient litter having a plurality of laterally spaced anchor locations and a plurality of longitudinally spaced anchor locations provided thereon; a support structure interconnecting said wheeled base to said patient litter; and an anchor member mounted to selected ones of said laterally spaced and said longitudinally spaced anchor locations, each said anchor member having a stub shaft extending upwardly from said patient litter and terminating in a fastener assembly.

32. The ambulance cot according to Claim 31, wherein said patient litter includes a first litter frame mounted on said support structure and a second litter frame mounted on said first litter frame, said second litter frame having a

flat upwardly facing surface, each said stub shaft extending upwardly from said flat upwardly facing surface.

33. The ambulance cot according to Claim 32, wherein said fastener assembly includes an external thread on an upper end portion of each said stub shaft and an internally threaded nut threadedly engaged with said external thread.

34. The ambulance cot according to Claim 32, wherein said fastener assembly includes a anchor plate-like member having an upwardly extending stub shaft secured to an upwardly facing surface of said anchor plate-like member and a downwardly extending stub shaft secured to an downwardly facing surface of said anchor plate-like member, said anchor plate-like member having a downwardly extending post-like member spaced from said downwardly extending stub shaft, said anchor plate-like member being configured for mounting to said patient litter, said downwardly extending post-like member and said downwardly extending stub shaft being received in separate anchor locations on said patient litter and said fastener assembly effecting a securement of said anchor plate- like member to said patient litter.

35. The ambulance cot according to Claim 31, wherein each said fastener assembly on each said anchor member is configured to operatively connect an incubator assembly to said patient litter.

36. The ambulance cot according to Claim 35, wherein said incubator assembly includes first and second housing members, said first housing member being an incubator configured for housing an infant child in a controlled environment and said second housing member being configured for holding at least one container filled with a gaseous media, said incubator assembly further including gaseous supply conduits configured for connecting to and extending

between said incubator and said at least one container for supplying said gaseous media to an interior of said incubator whereat said infant child is to be located.

37. The ambulance cot according to Claim 36, wherein said second housing member is secured to said patient litter by a plurality of said anchor members and wherein said first housing member is stacked on top of and secured to said second housing member.

38. The ambulance cot according to Claim 36, wherein said second housing member is secured to said patient litter by a first plurality of said anchor members and wherein said first housing member is secured to said patient litter by a second plurality of said anchor members, said second housing member and said first housing member being longitudinally spaced on said patient litter.

39. An ambulance cot having a head end and a foot end, comprising: a wheel supported first frame; a second frame; a support frame interconnecting said first frame and said second frame and facilitating guidance of movement of said first frame and said second frame toward and away from each other; and a latching mechanism onboard at least one of said first frame and said second frame and configured to effect a locking of said first frame to said second frame in response to contact by an object inside an ambulance.

40. The combination of an ambulance cot and an ambulance having a cargo area, comprising: a first frame on said ambulance cot and being wheel supported; a second frame on said ambulance cot; a support frame interconnecting said first frame and said second frame and facilitating guidance of movement of said first frame and said second frame toward and away from each other; a latch frame onboard at least one of said first and second frames and being configured to effect a locking of said first frame to said second frame in response to said first frame becoming secured to the floor of said cargo area; and an ambulance cot holding mechanism mounted to the floor of said cargo area and being configured to engage said first frame and secure it to the floor of said cargo area without engagement with and securement to said second frame.

Description:

AMBULANCE COT DOCKING ASSEMBLY

AND PATIENT SUPPORT ARTICULATION FEATURES

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

[0001] This invention relates to,,an ambulance cot and, more particularly, to an ambulance cot having enhanced patient support deck features, docking features for docking the ambulance cot into the cargo area of an ambulance and other accessories facilitating an ease of handling of the ambulance cot by an attendant. This invention also relates to a patient litter configured for support of an incubator assembly.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

[0002] Emergency medical service (EMS) personnel are required to handle the combined weight of a patient and the ambulance cot during various stages of maneuvering of the ambulance cot while separated from the ambulance. This cot manipulation often requires that the patient supported on the litter be lifted to various elevated heights above the floor. In some instances, the weight factor can cause EMS personnel injury that requires medical treatment. Furthermore, when the ambulance cot has been placed into the cargo area of an ambulance, it is essential that the ambulance cot be appropriately anchored into place to prevent movement of the ambulance cot when the ambulance is negotiating traffic conditions in an emergency-type environment. [0003] Accordingly, it is advantageous to provide an ambulance cot with enhanced docking features for facilitating a docking of the ambulance cot into the cargo area of an ambulance and facilitating a locking of the litter frame to the floor of the cargo area. Furthermore, it is advantageous to provide patient support deck enhancements to improve the comfort of the patient supported on the patient support deck as well as enhancing maneuverability of the ambulance cot. [0004] It is a further object of the invention to provide a patient litter configured for support of an incubator assembly.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

[0005] This invention relates to an ambulance cot and accessories. More specifically, this invention relates to an ambulance cot having a docking mechanism for facilitating an anchoring of the litter frame to the floor of the cargo area of an ambulance. This invention also relates to an articulated patient support deck on the litter frame capable of raising and lowering a head section while simultaneously- raising and lowering a foot section or orienting the foot section to form an inverted V-shaped gatch supporting the knees at a position elevated with respect to the patient's hip. This invention also relates to the provision of a pair of handles at opposite ends of the ambulance cot to facilitate an ease of manipulation .of the ambulance cot while the wheels are engaged with the floor for transport of the patient from one location to another. This invention also relates to the provision of a patient litter being configured for support of an incubator assembly.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

[0006] Various objects and purposes of the invention will become apparent based upon a review of the following specification and upon a review of the several drawings: [0007] Figure 1 is an isometric view of an ambulance cot embodying the invention, which ambulance cot is in the fully raised position;

[0008] Figure 2 is an isometric view of an ambulance cot similar to Figure 1, except that the ambulance cot is viewed from the foot end;

[0009] Figure 3 is a side elevational view of the ambulance cot embodying the invention;

[0010] Figure 4 is an isometric view of the foot section portion of the patient support deck;

[0011] Figure 5 is a partially sectioned side view of the foot section portion of the patient support deck;

[0012] Figure 6 is a partially sectioned side view of the foot section portion of the patient support deck raised to the Trendelenberg position;

[0013] Figure 7 is an enlarged fragment of the encircled part VII of Figure 6;

[0014] Figure 8 is a partially sectioned side view of the foot section portion of the patient support deck oriented into the gatch configuration;

[0015] Figure 9 is an enlarged fragment of the encircled part IX of Figure 8;

[0016] Figure 10 is a partially sectioned side view of the foot section portion of the patient support deck in an extended position;

[0017] Figure 11 is a partially sectioned side view of the foot section portion of the patient support deck in a retracted position;

[0018] Figure 12 is an enlarged fragment of the encircled part XII of Figure 10;

[0019] Figure 13 is an enlarged fragment of the encircled part XIII of Figure 11;

[0020] Figure 14 is an enlargement of the encircled part XIV of the corner section of the litter frame illustrated in Figure 1;

[0021] Figure 15 is an isometric view of a latch system for an extendable and retractable head section and foot section of the litter frame;

[0022] Figure 16 is an isometric view similar to Figure 15, except that the latch mechanism has been changed from a latched condition to an unlatched condition;

[0023] Figure 17 is an enlarged sectional view through the latch mechanism illustrated in Figure 15;

[0024] Figure 18 is a sectional view similar to Figure 17, except that the latch mechanism has been shifted to the position illustrated in Figure 16;

[0025] Figure 19 is an isometric view of a swivel locking mechanism for a caster wheel embodying the invention;

[0026] Figure 20 is a side elevational view of the swivel locking mechanism;

[0027] Figure 21 is a side view similar to Figure 20, except that the swivel locking mechanism has been activated and the caster is in the locked position;

[0028] Figure 22 is a sectional view through the swivel locking mechanism;

[0029] Figure 23 is an exploded isometric view of the swivel locking mechanism assembly;

[0030] Figure 24 is a sectional view similar to Figure 22, except that the swivel locking mechanism has been activated; [0031] Figure 25 is a sectional view similar to Figure 24, except that the caster wheel has been locked so that it can no longer swivel;

[0032] Figure 26 is a top, right, head end isometric view of an ambulance cot in the lowered position and ready to enter a docking mechanism mounted on the floor of the cargo area of an ambulance;

[0033] Figure 27 is a different head end isometric view of Figure 26 showing the ambulance cot entering the docking mechanism;

[0034] Figure 28 is an isometric view of the docking mechanism oriented at the head end of the ambulance cot; [0035] Figure 29 is an exploded isometric view of the docking mechanism illustrated in Figure 28;

[0036] Figure 30 is a side elevational view of the docking mechanism oriented at the head end of the ambulance cot and prior to the ambulance cot becoming locked into the docking mechanism;

[0037] Figure 31 is a side elevational view of the ambulance cot about to enter the docking system; [0038] Figure 32 is a partially sectioned side view of the ambulance cot fully docked into the docking mechanism; [0039] Figure 33 is an isometric view of the ambulance cot fully docked into the docking mechanism;

[0040] Figure 34 is a side elevational view of the ambulance cot fully docked into the docking system; [0041] Figure 35 is an isometric view of a pull handle provided at the head end and foot end of the ambulance cot; [0042] Figure 36 is a longitudinal sectional view through the length of the handle;

[0043] Figure 37 is a central longitudinal sectional view of the handle in an operative position thereof; [0044] Figure 38 is a longitudinal sectional view of the handle in its folded condition;

[0045] Figure 39 is a central sectional view of the handle in the folded position and shifted to a stowed position; [0046] Figure 40 is a longitudinal sectional view through one of the push bars spaced from a socket configuration therefor;

[0047] Figure 41 is an enlargement of the encircled fragment XLI in Figure 40;

[0048] Figure 42 is a longitudinal sectional view similar to Figure 40 except that the push bar has entered the socket; [0049] Figure 43 is a longitudinal sectional view similar to Figure 42 except that the push bar is locked into the socket by a lock mechanism;

[0050] Figure 44 is a longitudinal sectional view similar to Figure 43, except that the lock mechanism has been moved to the unlocked position;

[0051] Figure 45 is an isometric view of a modified push bar having an L-shape as shown in broken lines in Figure 1; [0052] Figure 46 is a longitudinal sectional view through a modified push bar locking mechanism for accommodating an L- shaped push bar;

[0053] Figure 47 is an isometric exploded view of a modified patient litter for an ambulance cot embodying the invention;

[0054] Figure 48 is an isometric view of the modified patient litter assembled to the side rails of the ambulance cot;

[0055] Figure 49 is a top view of the patient litter illustrated in Figure 47;

[0056] Figure 50 is an enlarged fragment of a fastener assembly for securing an incubator assembly to an upper surface of the patient litter;

[0057] Figure 51 is an isometric exploded view of a stacked incubator and a housing member for holding a plurality of tanks of gaseous media for supply to the incubator; [0058] Figure 52 is a side view of the ambulance cot illustrated in Figure 51 and presenting the stacked array on the patient litter;

[0059] Figure 53 is an isometric exploded view of a side- by-side incubator and a housing for holding a plurality of tanks of gaseous media for supply to the incubator; and [0060] Figure 54 is a side view of the ambulance cot illustrated in Figure 53 and presenting the side-by-side array on the patient litter.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

AMBULANCE COT

[0061] An ambulance cot 10 embodying the invention is illustrated in the drawings. The ambulance cot 10 is similar to the ambulance cots disclosed in U.S. Patent No. 5 537 700, and international patent application no. PCT/US05/034665, the subject matters thereof being incorporated herein by reference. The ambulance cot 10 includes a base frame 11 composed of longitudinally extending side rails 12 and crosswise extending rails 13 interconnected by brackets 131, 132 at the respective ends thereof to the side rails 12 to form a rectangle. Castered wheels 14 are operatively connected to each corner of the rectangle base frame 11 formed by the rails 12 and 13.

[0062] The ambulance cot 10 includes a litter 16 comprising a litter frame 17. An elevating mechanism 18 is provided between the base frame 11 and the litter frame 17 in order to facilitate a lifting and lowering of the litter 16 relative to the ground. More specifically, the elevating mechanism 18

includes a pair of side-by-side oriented "X" frames 19 and 21. The X frame 19 includes a pair of X frame members 22 and 23 connected together adjacent their mid-length portions by means of a pivot axle (not shown) . Each of the X frame members 22 and 23 is hollow and telescopingly receives therein a further X frame member 26 and an X frame member 27, respectively. The further X frame members 26 and 27 are supported for movement into and out of the respective X frame members 22 and 23. The distal end of the further X frame member 26 is secured via a connection 28 to the cross rail 13 at the left end (foot end) of the base frame illustrated in •Figure 1 whereas the distal end of the further X frame member 27 is connected via a connection 29 to the cross rail 13 at the right end (head end) of the base frame 11. [0063] The X frames 19 and 21 are similarly constructed. The X frame 21 includes a pair of X frame members 32 and 33 which are connected together at about their mid-length portions by the aforesaid axle (not shown) that connects the X frame members 22 and 23. Due to the aforesaid similarity of the construction of the X frames 19 and 21, further details of the X frame 21 is believed to be unnecessary. While the aforesaid axle can extend laterally between the X frames 19 and 21, it is to be understood that separate axles can, if desired, be employed and as explained below. [0064] Referring to Figure 2, to the crosswise extending rail 13 there is pivotally connected a pair of laterally spaced, parallel extending, linkage members 41. In this particular embodiment, each of the linkage members 41 includes at the end thereof adjacent the cross rail 13 a bore which encircles the cross rail 13 to facilitate the pivotal connection of each of the linkages 41 about the longitudinal axis of the cross rail 13. The ends of each of the linkages 41 remote from the cross rail 13 are connected to respective laterally spaced brackets 43 by means of a fastener 44. In this particular embodiment, a pair of laterally spaced brackets 43 are provided and each bracket is composed of two

parts 43A, 43B pivotally connected together and relatively movable about a horizontal axis. Each bracket part 43A and 43B is hollow. A sleeve 46 extends between the respective bracket parts 43A and receives therein the respective fastener 44 to facilitate the connection of the linkages 41 to the bracket parts 43A. Each of the bracket parts 43A and 43B includes a receptacle into which is received a respective X frame member 22, 23, 32 and 33 as illustrated in Figure 1. [0065] A first bracket 48 (Figure 2) is fixedly secured to the foot end cross rail 13. A second bracket (not shown) is secured to a rod 51 that is connected to and extends between the respective bracket parts 43A. In this particular embodiment, the rod 51 is connected to each bracket part 43A by a respective fastener 52.

[0066] At least one linear actuator 53 (two, if desired to provide improved stability) is connected to and extends between the respective brackets. In this particular embodiment, the linear actuator 53 includes a hydraulic cylinder housing 54 fastened to the not illustrated bracket on the rod 51, which cylinder housing 54 includes a reciprocal rod 56 having a piston (not illustrated) at one end thereof located within the cylinder housing 54. The distal end of the reciprocal rod 56 is connected in a conventional manner by a universal-like joint to the bracket 48. That is, the universal joint allows pivotal movement about two orthogonally related axes. As will be evident from Figures 2 and 3, extension and retraction of the reciprocal rod 56 will facilitate movement of the bracket parts 43A and 43B about the axis of the rod 46. The end of the rod 56 is lengthwise adjustable to accommodate tolerances encountered during production.

[0067] An electrical motor and hydraulic pump assembly 67 is mounted to the underside of the litter as shown in Figure 3. An output shaft of the electrical motor is connected to and rotatably drives the input shaft of the hydraulic pump. Hydraulic fluid conduits 68 are provided for operatively

connecting the inlet and outlet of the pump to the cylinder housing 54.

[0068] As is shown in Figure 1, the litter 16 comprises a litter frame 17 which consists of a pair of lengthwise extending side rails 66 that are laterally spaced from one another, which side rails 66 are connected at the head end by a not illustrated cross rails. In this particular embodiment, the longitudinally extending side rails 66 of the litter frame 17 are hollow. Thus, the cross rails not specifically described are secured by brackets to the exterior surface of each of the side rails 66. Several of the brackets 71 are illustrated in Figure 1.

[0069] A battery mount 88 is secured to the underside of the litter frame 16 adjacent the foot end thereof by a bracket 89. The battery mount 88 includes a downwardly opening bayonet socket configured for the reception of a battery 90. A first, generally upright U-shaped latch frame 61 is also secured to the underside of the litter frame adjacent the battery supporting bracket 89. The bight section 64 of the U- shaped latch frame 61 has on the bottom side thereof a pair of downwardly extending and laterally spaced brackets 62 to which is connected and extending therebetween a latch bar 63. [0070] The litter frame 17 has mounted thereon a patient support deck 60 which is composed of a seat section 72, a head section or fowler 73 and a foot section 74. The seat section 72 is fixed to a pair of longitudinally spaced cross bars that extend laterally between the corresponding brackets 71 on the side rails 66. The foot section 74 is composed of a thigh section 76 and a calf section 77. The frame 78 for the head section 73 is pivotally mounted to the cross bar to which the head end of the seat section 72 is secured. Furthermore, the frame 79 of the foot section 74 is pivotally mounted to the cross bar to which the foot end of the seat section 72 is secured.

[0071] In Figure 4, the foot section 74 has been isolated from the ambulance cot 10. The foot section 74 is, as has

been stated above, pivotal with respect to the seat section 72 about an axis 81 of the crossbar located at the foot end of the seat section 72. The frame 79 of the foot section 74 is generally U-shaped. The distal end of the legs 82 of the U- shaped frame are secured to a bracket (not illustrated) which facilitates the pivotal securement of the legs 82 for movement about the axis 81, as aforesaid. Each of the legs 82 is comprised of multiple components. More specifically, each leg 82 is composed of a leg segment 83 attached to brackets for facilitating a pivotal support thereof about the axis 81, as aforesaid. Leg segments 84 are pivotally connected to the aforesaid leg segments 83 by a bracket 80 (Figure 10) and fasteners 85. Flexible straps 86 forming loop-like handles are secured by the fasteners 85 to the ends of the leg segments 83 remote from the axis 81. The foot end of the foot section 74 constitutes the aforesaid calf section 77. The frame 87 of the calf section 77 is U shaped and has parallel legs 91 interconnected at the foot end by a bight section 92. The legs 91 are hollow and telescopingly receive therein the leg segments 84. Thus, the frame 87 is movable toward and away from the loop-like handles 86.

[0072] Referring to Figures 4 and 5, to one of the crossbars connected to one of the brackets 71 on the litter frame 17 is pivotally secured an extendable and retractable bracket 93. More specifically, the extendable and retractable bracket 93 includes a hollow housing member 94 pivotally secured to the crosswise member attached to one of the aforesaid brackets 71 on the side rails 66. A slide member 95 is slidably received inside the housing member 94. The slide member 95 includes an extension 97 extending toward the foot end of the ambulance cot 10 and terminating in a bracket 96 that facilitates a connection of the foot end of the frame 87 to the foot end of the extension 97. As is illustrated in Figure 4, the bracket 96 encircles the bight section 92 of the frame 87. A handle member 98 is provided on the bracket 96 and is supported for movement about an axis of the bight

section 92 between first and second positions. The handle is actually a two-arm lever arm, one arm 99 forming the aforesaid handle and the other arm 100 being on the opposite side of the axis of the bight section 92.

[0073] The housing member 94 has two longitudinally spaced holes 101 and 102 therein. The slide member 95 includes a pin 103 that is continually resiliently urged by a spring 104 to a fully extended position, such as is illustrated in Figures 6 and 7. The pin 103 is mounted in a bore 105 provided on the slide member 95, the axis of the bore 105 extending generally perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the hollow housing member 94. The slide member 95 also includes a reciprocal shuttle 106 mounted therein and connected by a linkage 107 to the arm 100 of the handle 98. The shuttle 106 operatively connects to the pin 103 to effect a retraction of the pin to the position illustrated in Figure 5 when the arm 99 of the handle 98 is moved upwardly (counterclockwise) from the position illustrated in Figure 5. Retraction of the pin 103 will enable the slide member to move lengthwise of the housing 94.

[0074] Figure 5 illustrates the position of the foot section 74 in a flat condition generally corresponding to that illustrated in Figures 1, 2 and 3. When a manual force applied to the foot end of the foot section, namely to the bight section 92 and/or the bracket 96 to effect a lifting thereof, the foot section 74 will transition from the Figure 5 position to the Figure 6 position at which time the pin 103 will become aligned with the hole 101 and the spring 104 will urge the pin into the hole 101 as illustrated more clearly in Figure 7. This position of the foot section 74 corresponds to the Trendelenberg position of the patient support deck. When it is desired to return the foot section 74 to the original position illustrated in Figure 5, an attendant need only move the handle 98 upwardly (counterclockwise) from the position illustrated in Figure 6 to cause the arm 100 to pull on the linkage 107 to draw the shuttle 106 toward the foot end and

effect a lifting of the pin 103 out of the hole 101 against the urging of the spring 104. The cam structure for effecting a lifting of the pin 103 is not disclosed in any detail herein but is essentially the same type of mechanism as is utilized for controlling the pin 127 as discussed below. [0075] When it is desired to convert the foot section from the position illustrated in Figure 5 to the position illustrated in Figure 8, an attendant need only lift upwardly on the loop-like handle 86 and, in doing so, will cause the foot end of the calf section 77 to urge the extension 97 leftwardly in Figure 5 so that the slide member 95 will move to the position illustrated in Figure 8, namely, a position adjacent the crossbar connected to the brackets 71 on the side rails 66. In this location, the bore 105 for the pin 103 will become aligned with the hole 102 to enable the spring 104 to urge the pin from its retracted position to its fully extended position as illustrated in Figure 9. When the pin is oriented in the position illustrated in Figures 8 and 9, the thigh section 76 and the calf section 77 forming an inverted V-shape will be locked in that position due to the inability of the slide member 95 being able to move due to the pin 103 being received into the hole 102.

[0076] As stated above, the calf section 77 is capable of moving toward and away from the thigh section 76. As illustrated in Figure 10, the thigh section 77 has been moved away from the thigh section 76. The end of the leg segment 84 remote from the fasteners 85 include a pin 108 urged by a spring 109 into a hole 110 (Figure 12) provided in the leg segment 91. From time-to-time, it is desired to shorten the length of the foot section 74 by moving the calf section 77 toward the thigh section 76, namely to a position illustrated in Figure 11. In order to accomplish this task, the attendant need only to find the distal end of each of the pins 108 and urge them upwardly into the respective holes 110 against the urging of the spring 109 so that force can be applied to the foot end of the frame 87 and urge it from the position

illustrated in Figure 10 to the position illustrated in Figure 11. The distal end of the pins 108 slide on the interior surface of the legs 91 as shown in Figure 13. During this movement, the extendable and retractable bracket 93 retracts but not far enough to cause the pin 103 to enter into the hole 102.

RETRACTABLE HEAD AND FOOT SECTIONS AND LATCHES THEREFOR [0077] As stated above, the side rails 66 of the litter frame 17 are hollow. A generally U-shaped retractable litter frame head section 111 has legs 112 and 113 received into the interior of the side rails 66 at the head end thereof while a generally U-shaped retractable litter frame foot section 114 has legs 115 and 116 received into the interior of the side rails 66 at the foot end thereof. This feature can be provided on a manual lift cot or a power lift cot. The legs 112 and 113 and the legs 115 and 116 are configured to be slidably received by, into the interior of (shown) , next to, or below the respective longitudinally extending side rails 66 on the cot 10. The legs 112, 113, 115 and 116 are each hollow and include an elongate slot 117 (Figure 14) therein for facilitating the sliding movement of a pin 118 between the solid line position and broken line position or the positions shown in Figures 15 and 16. The pin 118 is connected by a linkage 119 to a latch mechanism 121 on each leg 112, 113, 115 and 116. The latch mechanism 121 is illustrated in more detail in Figures 17 and 18. More specifically, the latch mechanism 121 includes a housing 122 in which a ramp mechanism 123 is slidably disposed lengthwise of the housing 122. The ramp mechanism 123 includes a ramp surface 124 against which a pin 126 rests. The pin 126 includes a latch pin 127 that is configured to move laterally into and out of the housing 122. The position located outside the housing is illustrated in Figure 17. A spring (not illustrated) urges the pin 126 against the ramp surface 124. When the pin 118 is manually pulled toward the respective head end and foot end of the cot, the pin 118 is moved from the position illustrated in Figure

15 to the position illustrated in Figure 16 to cause a leftward movement of the linkage 119 in each leg 112, 113, 115 and 116 to cause each pin 126 to shift in its position illustrated in Figure 17 to the position illustrated in Figure 18, namely, a position wherein the latch pin 127 has been retracted laterally into the housing 122 of the latch mechanism 121. A slot 128 (Figure 16) in the link 119 is provided which allows independent, passive engagement of the latch pins 127 when the pins 118 are released. A plurality of holes 129 are provided along the length of the side rails 66 and are configured to receive therein the latch pin 127 when in the extended position thereof as shown in Figure 17. These holes are located such that access to them is not possible, i.e., under a bumper provided on the exterior of the litter rail 66. This is done for protection against inadvertent release, foreign matter, or potential pinching point. When the latch pin is received in an associated hole 129 provided in the side rail 66, the retractable head and foot sections 111 and 114 will be physically locked to the cot in either the retracted position or the extended position.

SWIVEL LOCK FOR CASTER WHEELS

[0078] Turning now to the head end of the ambulance cot 10 (left end in Figure 1) , a plurality of caster wheels 14 are provided on the base 11. In this particular embodiment, a pair of brackets 131 serve to connect the longitudinally extending side rails 12 to one of the crosswise extending rails 13. An enlargement of the configuration illustrated in Figure 1 is presented in Figure 19. Each bracket 131 is identical to the other and includes a housing 133 having sockets 134 and 136 (Figure 22) configured to receive therein the side rails 12 and the crosswise extending rails 13, respectively. Conventional fasteners are utilized to secure the side rails 12 and the crosswise extending rails 13 in place. Each housing also includes a vertically upright bore 137 extending from an internal cavity 138 and opening outwardly of the body 133 at a downwardly facing, generally

horizontal surface 139. Each of the wheels is rotatably supported between a pair of legs 141 of a yoke assembly 142. The yoke assembly 142 includes a sleeve 143 at the upper end thereof having a generally horizontal upwardly facing surface 144 opposed to the surface 139. The sleeve 143 has a hole 144 therein which is axially aligned with the axis of the bore 137. A kingpin 147 is received in the aligned bore 137 and hole 146 and includes an external thread arrangement configured to receive a nut 148 abutting the undersurface of the sleeve 143 to effect a rotational support of the yoke assembly 142 for movement in a 360° pattern about the upright vertical axis of the kingpin 147. A collar 149 (Figure 23) encircles the upper surface 146 of the sleeve 143 and includes a notch or recess 151 in the perimeter thereof. [0079] Radially outwardly from the axis of the bore 137 there is provided a further bore 152 in which is provided a reciprocal pin 153 urged by a spring 154 to a position wherein the bottom end of the pin 153 projects from the bore 152 as shown in Figures 21 and 24.

[0080] A toggle lever 156 is pivotally arranged in the cavity 138 for movement about an axle 157. The toggle lever 156 is movable in a teeter totter manner 'between first and second positions, the first position being illustrated in Figure 22. The upper end of the pin 153 is loosely secured to the toggle lever 156. More specifically, the upper end of the pin 153 includes a slide member or a roller 158 which engages the surface of an internal cavity 159 provided on the toggle lever 156 so that the toggle lever can undergo a pivoting action facilitating a sliding or rolling movement of the roller 158 with respect to the internal walls of the aforesaid cavity 159. The relative movement between the roller 158 and the internal walls of the cavity 159 can be discerned by comparing Figures 22, 24 and 25. Since the internal cavity 159 is oriented below the axle 157, a movement of the toggle lever 156 from the position illustrated in Figure 22 to the position illustrated in Figure 24 will shift the relative

position of the cavity 159 downwardly and away from the roller 158 oriented at the upper end of the pin 153 to enable the spring 154 to urge the pin 153 downwardly into engagement with the upwardly facing peripheral surface of the collar 149. The position of the yoke assembly 142 illustrated in Figure 22 has caused the notch 151 to be out of alignment with the axis of the pin 153. When the yoke assembly 142 has been swiveled to the position illustrated in Figure 25, the notch 151 will have become aligned with the axis of the pin 153 to cause the spring 154 to urge the pin downwardly and into the notch to prevent further pivotal movement of the yoke assembly 142 with respect to the bracket 131. Downward travel of the pin 153 will be limited by an engagement of the roller 158 with a surface of the cavity 159 as illustrated in Figure 25. To effect a release of the locked castered wheel, one simply needs only to return the toggle lever 156 from the position illustrated in Figures 24 and 25 to the position illustrated in Figure 22. Such movement will cause the roller 158 to engage a surface of the cavity 159 and be lifted thereby moving the pin 153 upwardly in the bore 152 against the urging of the spring 154.

AMBULANCE COT LOCKDOWN MECHANISM

[0081] An ambulance cot lockdown mechanism 161 is illustrated in Figures 26 to 34. The ambulance cot lockdown mechanism 161 includes two locking mechanisms, namely, locking mechanism 162 oriented at the head end of the cot and the locking mechanism 163 oriented at the foot end of the cot. The locking mechanism 162 includes a base plate 164 configured to mount to the floor of the cargo area of an ambulance at a location remote from the access opening into the cargo area, preferably adjacent the front end of the cargo area. A pair of pillars 166 are upstandingly secured to the upper surface of the plate 164 and a crosswise extending bar 167 interconnects the upper ends of the pillars 166 to one another. A U or V-shaped bar 168 is oriented so that the apex of the U or V is toward the access opening into the cargo area

or, when an ambulance cot is present, oriented toward the foot end of the ambulance cot. In this particular embodiment, the apex 169 is oriented to the right (Figure 26) of the pillars 166. The legs 168 diverge toward the front end of the cargo area and converge toward the head end of the cot so that each leg can be secured not only to the upper ends of the pillars 166, but also to a mid-length portion of each of the pillars through a rounded extension 171. The legs of the U or V- shaped bar 168 are oriented in a generally horizontal plane spaced upwardly from the plane of the base plate 164. A pair of braces 172 extend between the upper portion of each of the pillars 166 and the top surface of the plate 164 on a side facing the rear of the ambulance.

[0082] Associated with the aforementioned locking mechanism or stanchion 162 is a latch frame 173 (Figure 27) secured to the underside of the litter frame 17 as illustrated in Figure 27. The latch frame 173 is, in this particular embodiment, generally U-shaped having a bight section 174 and a pair of upstanding legs 176 secured in a conventional manner to the litter frame 17. The bight section 174 of the latch frame 173 is oriented a finite distance beneath the undersurface of the litter frame 17.

[0083] A docking mechanism 180 is mounted at the head end of the base frame 11 of the ambulance cot 10. The docking mechanism 180 includes a crosswise extending bar 181 connected to and extending between the brackets 131. The crosswise extending bar 181 is generally parallel to the axle 157 and the crosswise extending bars 13 of the base frame 11. A box- like housing 182 (Figure 28) includes a top wall 183 and downwardly extending side walls 184. The forward end of the box-like housing 182 has a horizontally extending bar 186 secured to and extending between the side walls 184 adjacent the lower edges thereof as illustrated in Figure 28. The forward end of the top wall 182, the two side walls 184 and the crosswise extending bar or roller 186 define an opening 187. The rear end of the side walls 184 of the box-like

housing 182 have a pair of axially aligned holes 188 therein. The holes 188 receive therein the crosswise extending cross bar 13 of the base frame 11. The crosswise extending bar 181 extends through axially aligned holes 189 oriented adjacent the front end of the box-like housing 182. The box-like housing 182 is oriented centrally between the lateral edges of the ambulance cot 10 as illustrated in Figure 27. [0084] The side walls 184 of the box-like housing each include a cylindrical bushing 191 into which is received an axle 192. The axially aligned bushings 191 serve to rotatably support the axle 182 therein. A pair of hook members 193 are secured to the opposite ends of the axle 172 and rotate therewith. Each of the hooks 193 is of an inverted L-shaped configuration wherein a leg 194 extends generally at a right angle to the other leg 196. As shown in Figure 29, the axle 192 is composed of two parts 192A and 192B. These two parts are joined together in a sleeve arrangement 197 and secured together as a unit by a plurality of fasteners 198. A plate 199 is secured to the sleeve arrangement 197 and extends radially outwardly therefrom. A hole 201 is provided in the plate 199. A resilient member, such as a spring 202, is connected to and extends between the plate 199 and the top wall 183 of the box-like housing 182 as illustrated in Figures 28-31.

[0085] As an ambulance cot 10 is loaded into the cargo area of an ambulance and moved toward the stanchion 162, the apex 169 of the U or V-shaped bar 168 will first enter the opening 187 of the box-like housing 182 and engage the plate 199 as illustrated in Figures 30 and 31. The U or V-shaped bar moves over the top of the bar or roller 186 on the box-like housing 182. Continued movement of the ambulance cot to the left in Figure 30 will cause the apex 169 to enter the hole 201 in the plate 199 as the plate becomes more vertical so that each leg of the U or V-shaped bar 168 will serve to center the hole 200 and the cot while at the same time cranking the plate 199 from the position illustrated in Figure 30 to the position

illustrated in Figures 32-34 at which time the leg 194 of the hook 193 will move over the top of the bight section 174 of the latch frame 173 as illustrated in Figures 32-34. In this manner, the litter frame 17 is locked to the floor of the cargo area of the ambulance cot.

[0086] The locking mechanism 162 oriented adjacent the foot end of the cot includes a foot pedal 203 which, when activated, effects through a linkage the movement of a latch bar 204 from the position illustrated in Figure 31 to an unlatched position ready to receive beneath the overhang 206 the latch bar 63 as shown in Figure 27. As the latch bar 63 moves beneath the overhang 206, it will strike the other part of the latch bar 204 to cause the latch to move over dead center bringing the latch bar to the position illustrated in Figure 3 locking the latch bar 63 to the locking mechanism 162.

PULL HANDLES

[0087] A pair of identical pull handles 210 are oriented on the litter frame 17 at the head end and foot end of the ambulance cot 10. Each of the retractable head section 111 and foot section 114 includes bracketry 211 at each of the four corners interconnecting the respective legs 112, 113, 115, 116 to a crosswise extending bar 212 having a pair of laterally spaced rubber hand grips 213 provided thereon. At a central location on each of the two bars 212 and between the hand grips 213 there is provided a connector housing 214 that facilitates the connection of the pull handle 210 to the bar 212. In this particular embodiment, the connector housing 214 is rotatable relative to the bar 212 by a loosely provided clam shell type of clamp so that the handles 210 can be oriented at the position illustrated in Figure 1 to a fully stowed position illustrated in Figure 39. Each handle 210 consists of a first part 216 connected to the connection housing 214 and a second part 217 connected to the first part through a hinge 218. In this particular embodiment, the hinge 218 includes two mutually exclusive axles 219 and 221. The

first part of the handle 216 is connected to the hinge 218 through the axle 219 whereas the second part 217 of the handle is connected to a second axle 221 to the hinge 218. This configuration of the hinge will allow the first and second parts to move to an overlapped array as illustrated in Figure 38. The hinge 218 includes flat end surfaces 222 and 223 so that when the handle 210 is moved to the unfolded position, the flat end surfaces 224 and 226 on the first and second handle parts 216 and 217, respectively, will engage the flat end surfaces 222 and 223 to prevent the handle parts moving past the linearly aligned position shown in Figure 36. A sleeve 222 is provided on the second handle part 217 and, when the handle is in the position illustrated in Figure 36 wherein the handle parts 216 and 217 are generally collinear, the sleeve 222 can slide to the left to enshroud the hinge 218 to prevent the first and second parts from moving relative to the hinge as shown in Figure 37. Once the handle 214 has been appropriately folded to the Figure 38 position, it can then be allowed to pivot about the axle defined by the crosswise extending bars 212 to a stowed position beneath the litter frame 17 as shown in Figure 39.

[0088] A spring clip 231 is mounted on the inside of the connection housing 214 and includes a barb-like configuration

232 that slides on the outer surface of the crosswise extending bar 212. The bar 212 includes a partial, generally C-shaped collar piece 233 of a finite thickness fastened to the outer surface thereof by a fastener 234. The collar piece

233 has end walls that are contained in a plane that includes the axis of the bar 212. The spring clip 231 has a finite width and includes a straight section 228 terminating in the barb-like configuration 232 which is of a generally V-shape. A first leg 229 of the V-shaped barb 232 constitutes a terminal end section of the spring clip and it is inclined to a plane containing the straight section 228 and inclined to a radius of the bar 212. A second leg 230 of the V-shaped barb is oriented in a plane that is generally perpendicular to the

plane containing the straight section 228 and a radius of the bar 212. As the handle 210 is moved from the Figure 38 position to the stowed position illustrated in Figure 39, the inclined first leg 229 of the barb-like configuration 232 will slide up over a corner 236 of the collar piece 233, the apex of the "V" sliding along the radially outer surface 237 of the collar and then snap down on the far side thereof at the corner 237 so that second leg section 230 engages the flat end wall surface of the collar piece 233 (as shown in Figure 39) to effectively releasably lock the handle in the stowed position beneath the respective retractable head end and foot end sections 111 and 114 of the litter frame 17. To move the folded handle from the position shown in Figure 39 to, for example, the position shown in Figure 38, one need only forcibly pull down on the folded configuration at the end remote from the connection housing 214 to cause the second leg section 230 of the spring clip 231 to flex into a plane inclined to the plane containing the straight section 228 and the radius of the bar 212 to thereby enable the barb 232 to lift up over the corner 237. A first magnet 238 is fixedly mounted to the first handle part 216 and a second magnet 239 is fixedly mounted to the second handle part 217 at generally the same distance from the hinge 218. As result, and when the handle parts 216 and 217 are folded to the Figures 38 and 39 positions, the magnets will attract and releasably hold the handle parts together. Furthermore, when the folded handle 210 is moved to the stowed position illustrated in Figure 39, the second handle part 217 will not be able to separate from the first handle part 216 due to the attractive force provided by the magnets 238 and 239.

PUSH BARS

[0089] As is illustrated in Figure 1, there are four identical upstanding posts or push bars 240 in each of the four corners of the ambulance cot 10. Each post or push bar 240 includes an elongate tube 241 having received in an upper end thereof a plug 242 having an externally threaded stub

section 243 thereon. A ball-shaped element 244 having an internally threaded socket 246 therein receives the externally- threaded stub 243 to facilitate a screwed securement of the ball 244 to the tube 241. A locking sleeve 247 includes an upper section 248 that is telescopingly received inside the lower end of the tube 241. The locking sleeve 247 includes a section 249 that extends beyond the end of the tube 241 and has an annular groove 251 in the periphery thereof adjacent the lower terminal end as best illustrated in Figure 41. [0090] Referring to Figure 14, the bracket 211 in each corner of the cot includes a push bar locking mechanism 252 as is illustrated in Figure 41. The push bar locking mechanism 252 includes a pin 253 supported for reciprocal movement in a sleeve 254 that is threadedly engaged as at 256 with the wall structure of the bracket 211. A spring 257 is oriented between an external surface of the pin 253 and an internal surface of the sleeve 254 to effect a continual urging of the pin 253 to the position illustrated in Figure 41 wherein the internal end of the pin 258 projects into a socket 259 that is provided in each of the brackets 211 for reception of the locking sleeve 247. As is illustrated in Figure 41, both the extension 247 and the socket 259 into which the extension 247 is received are conformingly tapered so that as the extension sleeve 247 is received into the socket 259. A snug and tolerance free mating of the respective surfaces will occur to tightly hold the push rod 240 in each of the respective sockets 259. A knob 261 is provided on the outside end of the pin 253 and is threadedly secured thereat to the pin 253. The knob 261 serves the purpose of enabling an attendant to manually grasp the knob and pull it rightwardly in' Figure 41 to cause the pin 253 to be retracted into the interior of the sleeve 254 against the urging of the spring 257. [0091] Figures 42 and 43 illustrate a sequence of movement of the push bar 240 into the socket 259 provided in each of the brackets 211. As a downward force is applied to each of the push bars 240, the lower end of the locking sleeve 247

engages the inner end 258 of the pin 253 to urge it rightwardly (Figure 41) into the sleeve 254 to facilitate continued downward movement of the push bar to the position illustrated in Figure 43 whereat the spring force of the spring 257 urges the inner end 258 of the pin 253 into the annular groove 251 provided in the exterior surface of the locking sleeve 247. Conforming surfaces on the extension 247 and pin 253 facilitate the aforesaid action. Figure 44 illustrates that in order to facilitate a removal of the push rod from the respective socket 259, it is necessary to move the pin 253 to its retracted position by manually pulling rightwardly on the knob 261.

[0092] It is sometimes desired to move a patient located on the patient support deck 60 while the patient support deck is in the lowered position thereof, such as the position of the ambulance cot illustrated in Figure 31. The pull handles 210 and the push bars 240 will facilitate an easy manipulation of the ambulance cot while it is in the lowered position. [0093] Referring to Figure 1 again, each of the push rods 240 can be, if desired, provided as L-shaped push rods 240A as illustrated in broken lines. An isometric view of an L-shaped push rod 240A is illustrated in Figure 45. The end of the push rod 240A remote from the ambulance cot 10 can be terminated in a flat end 262 as shown or a ball can be provided similar to the ball 244 shown in Figures 40-44. An extension sleeve 247A is essentially identical to the extension sleeve 247 described above except that the distal end 263 thereof includes a laterally extending slot 264 in the axial end face thereof. The bracket 211A into which the modified push bar 240A is received is essentially identical to the bracket 211 described above. Nevertheless, the same reference numerals utilized for describing the bracket 211 have been utilized to describe the modified bracket 211A, except that the suffix "A" has been added to each reference numeral. This will make it unnecessary to describe in detail each of the features of the bracket 211A.

[0094] The socket 259A in each of the brackets 211A includes a laterally extending pin 266 oriented at a location just beneath a plane containing the horizontal axis of the pin 253A. As the push bar 240A enters the respective socket 259A, the pin 266 will be received into the laterally extending slot 264 in the distal end of the extension sleeve 247A as illustrated in Figure 46.

[0095] The longitudinal axis of the laterally extending pin 266 is parallel to the leg 267 of the push bar 240A. As a result, the legs 267 can extend laterally outwardly from the lateral sides of the ambulance cot 10 as illustrated at the head end thereof in Figure 1 or they can extend laterally toward one another as illustrated in broken lines at the foot end of the ambulance cot 10 illustrated in Figure 1. In order to manipulate the legs 267 between their respective positions illustrated in Figure 1, it will be necessary for an attendant to pull on the knob 261A to retract the pin 253A into the sleeve 254A so that the push bars 240A can be lifted out of the socket 259A, rotated 180° and inserted back into the socket 259A so that the inner end 258A of the pin 253A can enter the annular groove 251A provided in the extension sleeve 247A.

SUPPORT FOR INCUBATOR ASSEMBLY

[0096] Figures 47-54 illustrate a modified ambulance cot configured for support of an incubator assembly. The ambulance cot 1OA is similar to the ambulance cot described in WO 2006/036980, the subject matter of which has been incorporated herein by reference. The side rails 66A of the modified ambulance cot 1OA include a plurality of upstanding U-shaped brackets 268 which are simultaneously being used for supporting the safety siderails 269 as illustrated in Figure 1.

[0097] A patient litter 271 includes a pair of side rails 272 and 273 that are generally L-shaped in cross section with the horizontal leg 274 and 276 of each of the L-shaped legs 272 and 273, respectively, overlaying the upper ends of the brackets 268. Selected holes 277 in the vertically upright

legs of the L-shaped frame members 272 and 273 are aligned with corresponding holes 278 in each of the brackets 268. A plurality of fasteners 279 are received in the aligned holes 277 and 278 to facilitate a fastening of the patient litter 271 to the side rails 66A as illustrated in Figures 48 and 49. [0098] The patient litter 271 includes a plurality of sets of anchor holes 281 as illustrated in Figure 49. Each anchor hole set 281 includes a cylindrical hole 282 and a slot 283. In addition, each set of anchor holes 281 is located inwardly of the side edges of the ambulance cot 1OA and there are two laterally spaced and longitudinally extending rows, in this particular embodiment, of aligned anchor holes 281. [0099] An anchor member 284 is received into selected ones of the anchor holes 281. Each anchor member 284 includes a plate-like member 286 and an externally threaded stub shaft member 287 extending upwardly from the plate-like member 286 and a further externally threaded stub shaft member 288 extending downwardly from the plate-like member 286 as illustrated in Figure 50. The plate-like member 286 additionally includes a downwardly extending extension 289 spaced radially from the downwardly extending stub shaft member 288. As is illustrated in Figure 50, the downwardly extending stub shaft member 288 is received into the cylindrical hole 282 whereas the downwardly extending extension 289 is received into the slot 283. The underside of the plate-like member 286 rests on the deck surface of the patient litter 271. An internally threaded nut 291 oriented on the underside of the deck portion of the patient litter 271 is threadedly engaged with the external threads on the downwardly extending stub shaft member 288 to facilitate a securement of the anchor member 284 to the patient litter 271. [00100] An incubator assembly 292 is configured to mount to the upper surface of the patient litter 271. The incubator assembly 292 includes an incubator 293 configured to hold an infant child in a controlled environment and the incubator assembly 292 further includes a tank support housing 294

configured to hold a plurality of tanks of gaseous media with various conduits (not shown) being connected between the tanks and the incubator to facilitate the delivery of a controlled gaseous media to the interior of the incubator 293. The incubator housing 296 and the tank support housing 294 include a plurality of spaced holes 297 therein configured to receive therein the upwardly extending stub shaft member 287 therethrough as illustrated in Figure 50. An internally threaded nut 298 is oriented inside the tank support housing 294 and threadedly engages the external thread on the stub shaft member 287 to facilitate a securement of the tank support housing 294 to each of the anchor members 284 that are being utilized. A similar type connection can facilitate a connecting of the tank support housing 294 to the incubator housing 296 so that the incubator assembly 292 consists of a stacked array of the tank support housing 294 and incubator housing 296 as illustrated in Figure 52.

[00101] It oftentimes happens that the stacked array of the incubator assembly illustrated in Figure 52 orients the incubator 293 at an elevation that is too high for some of the healthcare personnel. As a result, the healthcare personnel will be unable to maintain visual observation of the infant child inside the incubator 293, especially when the cot is in the elevated position. Thus, other of the sets of anchor holes 281 are utilized to orient the tank support housing 294 separate from the incubator 293 as illustrated in Figure 53. Plural anchor members 284 are secured to the patient litter 271 as has been described above and the tank support housing 294 is mounted on the upwardly extending stub shaft members 287 with internally threaded nuts 298 being provided inside the tank housing 294 and inside the incubator 293 to facilitate a side-by-side arrangement of the tank support housing 294 and the incubator 293 as illustrated in Figure 54. When the ambulance cot 1OA is in the raised or lowered position (as illustrated in Figure 54), the healthcare

attendant can easily access the infant child oriented inside the incubator 293.

[00102] Although particular preferred embodiments of the invention have been disclosed in detail for illustrative purposes, it will be recognized that variations or modifications of the disclosed apparatus, including the rearrangement of parts, lie within the scope of the present invention.