Patent application title: TABLE
Adria Marallo (Kingston, NY, US)
Dennis Hogle (Valencia, CA, US)
Craig Larosa (Natick, MA, US)
Gianna Marzilli Ericson (Cambridge, MA, US)
Kisoon Augusta Kim Meill (Jamaica Plain, MA, US)
Jonathan Stephen Podolsky (Maynard, MA, US)
IPC8 Class: AA47B1308FI
Class name: Horizontally supported planar surfaces with receptacle
Publication date: 2011-05-26
Patent application number: 20110120352
Disclosed herein is specialized furniture, including a table having a
sliding top. The table may be adapted for use in medical procedures, such
as for use as a phlebotomy table.
1. A table comprising: a first side and second side substantially
parallel to an axis of the table, a slidable upper surface attached to a
fixed lower surface, wherein the upper surface is capable of lateral
translation relative to the fixed surface in a direction substantially
perpendicular to the axis, and a third side substantially perpendicular
to the axis of the table, said third side capable of being attached to a
2. The table of claim 1, wherein at least one of the first side and the second side of the slidable upper surface comprises a substantially curved edge that reduces the distance between the edge of the first side and the edge of the second side along an axis perpendicular to the axis of the table.
3. The table of claim 2, wherein each of the first side and the second side of the slidable upper surface comprises a substantially curved edge that reduces the distance between the edge of the first side and the edge of the second side along an axis perpendicular to the axis of the table.
4. The table of claim 2, wherein at least one side of the fixed lower surface comprises a substantially curved edge that aligns with the substantially curved edge of the slidable upper surface when the upper surface is at its point of maximum translation relative to the fixed lower surface.
5. The table of claim 1, wherein the table further comprises a locking system capable of fixing the translational position of slidable upper surface relative to the fixed lower surface.
6. The table of claim 5, wherein the locking system comprises a reversibly engagable pin and one or more mating holes configured such that the slidable upper surface is fixed relative to the fixed lower surface when the pin is engaged with a mating hole.
7. The table of claim 6, wherein the locking system comprises a locking strip defining the one or more mating holes, the locking strip mounted to fixed lower surface.
8. The table of claim 6, wherein the one or more mating holes are features of the fixed lower surface.
9. The table of claim 1, further comprising a drawer affixed to the underside of the slidable upper surface.
10. The table of claim 1, wherein the slidable upper surface further comprises an opening.
11. The table of claim 10, wherein the opening is adapted to accept an insertable tray.
12. The table of claim 1, wherein the third side is permanently attached to the wall.
13. The table of claim 12, wherein the attachment between the third side and the wall comprises a hinge.
14. The table of claim 1, wherein the third side is removably attached to the wall.
15. The table of claim 13, wherein the table further comprises legs configured such that the table is capable of free-standing support when not attached to the wall.
16. The table of claim 15, wherein at least one of the legs is foldable or removable.
CROSS-REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATIONS
 This application claims benefit of U.S. Provisional Application 61/245,209, filed Sep. 23, 2009, hereby incorporated by reference in its entirety.
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
 The present invention relates to medical furniture, workstations and equipment, including phlebotomy tables and/or work stations.
BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION
 In the phlebotomy field, it is typical for patients to use a customized phlebotomy chair. Phlebotomy chairs are characterized as having a seating platform laterally defined by specialized armrests which aid the phlebotomist in positioning the patient's arm during blood draws and injections. Optionally, one or both of the armrests are capable of rotating or being removed in order to facilitate the patient's entry and exit from the chair. The relatively rigid and confined nature of these chairs provides difficulties for certain patients including those that are mobility impaired, bariatric, or other special needs patients. For example, many patients encounter difficulties associated with exiting and re-entering a wheel chair to sit in the phlebotomy chair for a medical procedure. Bariatric and other patients often find an insufficient amount of room to sit down and/or find that the armrests do not have sufficient length or functional range of motion to accommodate their body type.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
 The present invention relates to tables, and in particular to tables for performing medical procedures, such as phlebotomy tables. In one aspect, the invention provides a table defined by a first and second side that are substantially parallel to an axis of the table, and a third side that is substantially perpendicular to that axis which is adapted for attachment to a wall. The table has a slidable upper surface and a fixed lower surface, wherein the upper surface is capable of lateral translation relative to the lower surface in a direction that is substantially perpendicular to the table axis (i.e., parallel to the wall). Optionally, at least a portion of the table is supported by at least one leg (preferably attached to the lower surface), but the table may be constructed such that the wall attachment is the only point of support for the table.
 In some embodiments, at least one of the first side and the second side of the slidable upper surface have a substantially curved edge that reduces the distance between the edge of the first side and the edge of the second side along an axis perpendicular to the axis of the table. Optionally, both the first and second side of the upper surface have a curved edge, which is not necessarily symmetrical between the two sides. In another configuration of this embodiment, the fixed lower surface has a substantially curved edge that aligns with a curved edge of the slidable upper surface when the upper surface is at its point of maximum translation relative to the fixed lower surface.
 In other embodiments, the table has a locking system capable of fixing the translational position of slidable upper surface relative to the fixed lower surface. Suitable locking systems include a reversibly engagable locking pin and one or more mating holes, wherein the slidable upper surface is fixed (locked) when the pin is engaged in a mating hole. The mating holes may be present in a locking strip mounted either on the underside of the upper surface or the topside of the lower surface. Alternatively, the mating holes may be features of the upper or lower surface (e.g., drilled into the surface).
 In other embodiments, the table has one or more drawers, removable legs, and/or folding legs. Optionally, the table the legs of the table are configured such that the table is capable of free-standing support when not attached to the wall.
 In other embodiments, the third side of the table is capable of either permanent attachment to the wall or reversible attachment to the wall In one embodiment, the table is permanently attached to the wall and the attachment has a hinged such that the table can be folded against the wall for storage (in an inoperative position).
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS
 FIG. 1 depicts a front elevation view schematic of a phlebotomy table according to an embodiment of the present invention;
 FIG. 2 depicts a side elevation view schematic of the phlebotomy table of FIG. 1;
 FIG. 3 depicts a plan view schematic of the phlebotomy table of FIG. 1 in a first sliding position;
 FIG. 4 depicts a plan view schematic of the phlebotomy table of FIG. 1 in a second sliding position;
 FIG. 5 depicts a plan view schematic of the sliding work surface of the phlebotomy table of FIG. 1;
 FIG. 6 depicts a plan view schematic of the fixed support surface of the phlebotomy table of FIG. 1; and
 FIG. 7 depicts a side elevation view schematic of the locking system of the phlebotomy table of FIG. 1.
 The present invention provides a table having a slidable top (upper working surface). In one embodiment, the table is attached to a wall through a first side and is optionally supported by one or more legs. In other embodiments, the table is free-standing (i.e., not attached to a wall). The slidable table of the invention may be used for a variety of purposes including for medical procedures. The slidable top optionally may be shaped or have specialized fixed devices or features appropriate for its intended purpose. In one embodiment, the table is used as a phlebotomy table.
 The table of the invention will now be exemplified with specific reference to the figures. The embodiments illustrated in the figures are not intended to be limiting, but rather to illustrate certain principles and features of the invention. In a first embodiment, the table having a slidable top is configured as a phlebotomy table. Table 100, as depicted, is removably or permanently attached to a wall 10, and supported by one or more legs 105 (two legs 105 are shown in FIG. 2). In another embodiment (not illustrated), phlebotomy table 100 is a free standing table having one or more additional legs 105, or other support means. When permanently attached to a wall 10, table 100 may be attached to a load-bearing or non-load-bearing wall member and any convenient attachments or fasteners may be used.
 In another embodiment, table 100 is removably attached to the wall. The removable attachment may use any convenient fastening mechanism that provides suitable support for adequate stability and user operability. For example, a rib-and-receiver mechanism may be used, wherein the attachment edge of the table 100 contains a series of downwardly pointing ribs that fit into a receiver attached to the wall.
 In this embodiment, table 100 may have permanently affixed legs, removable legs, or foldable legs capable of supporting the table when detached from the wall. Fixed legs may be recessed from the edge of the table in order that they provide adequate support but do not interfere with the wall-attachment mechanism. Removable legs optionally may be configured to attach to the same mechanism used to attach the table to the wall. Alternatively, removable legs may attach elsewhere on the table and optionally may be designed to either remain in place or be detached when the table is attached to the wall. Foldable legs are permanently attached to table 100 but are configured such that they do not interfere with the wall-attachment mechanism and are stowed in a closed configuration in a manner that does not interfere with either the use or the comfort of the operator or patient. Typically, foldable legs are attached to the underside of the table using a hinging mechanism and optionally have an internal hinge in order to effectively shorten the length of the leg for stowage. Finally, in a removable configuration, the table may have no legs that support the table in place of the wall, when removed from the wall. In these embodiments, the table is not intended for use as a free-standing table. Instead, the absence of these additional legs may increase the portability of the table by reducing the weight and/or dimension. Although the exact number and placement of the legs in any embodiment is not critical to the function of the phlebotomy table 100, when used for its intended purpose (i.e., in the performance of a phlebotomy procedure), it is understood that the legs and/or other support means are configured such that the phlebotomy table 100 is a stable working platform suitable for its intended purpose.
 In other embodiments, table 100 is permanently or removably attached to wall 10 by a hinging mechanism which allows the table, when not in use, to be folded against the wall, typically vertically. In some embodiments, the legs 105 are detachable or are attached to the table by a hinging or folding mechanism which allows the legs to fold against at least one side of the table when the table is in the storage position. In one example, the hinging mechanism is located at the point of attachment between the leg and the table in order that the leg lays flat against one side. One suitable folding mechanism involves legs which are attached to the table by a hinging mechanism, extend along bisecting planes, and are joined together by a pivotable fastener. This folding mechanism extends and retracts the legs in a scissor-like fashion and is typical of household ironing boards. Optionally, the table, wall, and/or hinging mechanism has a locking or other fastening mechanism to secure the table in the storage conformation (i.e., folded against the wall). Further, the table or hinging mechanism has a locking mechanism to secure the table in the operational position. This may be conveniently achieved by securable attachment between one or more of the legs 105 and the floor. Such a locking mechanism is particularly desirable for embodiments in which the movement of the table between the storage and operational positions is mechanically assisted (e.g., spring-assisted).
 Table 100 further includes a fixed lower surface 110 and an upper sliding work surface 120 that is capable of sliding (translation) in relation to the lower surface 110. Upper surface 120 slides substantially parallel to the wall 10 (i.e., back and forth between a patient side A and a medical practitioner side B). Lower surface 110 and upper surface 120 may be made of a suitable material, such as, for example formica counter top stock, stainless steel, or any other material suitable for such a table or counter top surface. For medical applications, upper surface 120 is preferably a hard smooth surface that is resistant to bleach and typical chemical disinfectants. Optionally, the surface of the upper surface 120, or countertop that makes up the upper surface 120 itself is configured for easy removal and replacement in the case of wear or biological hazard. As depicted, although not intended to be limiting, sliding upper surface 120 is affixed utilizing drawer glides 130 that allow upper surface 120 to slide in a direction parallel to a mounting direction of drawer glides 130. This direction is also substantially parallel to the wall. Table 100 may also be mounted over top of a wall wherein the patient side A sits substantially on one side of the wall and the medical practitioner side B sits substantially on another side of the wall and the table slides back and forth over the wall. It accordance with the present invention, other mounting apparatus may be used that allow for similar linear translation of the slidable upper surface 120 in relation to the fixed lower surface 110.
 When in use as a phlebotomy table with a patient, such a configuration allows upper surface 120 to slide away from the patient to allow the patient easier access to a chair, bench, stool or other seating or standing arrangement suitable for use with phlebotomy table 100. The sliding configuration then allows a medical practitioner to slide upper surface 120 back towards the patient to in order to perform a medical procedure. Additionally, in this configuration, it is not necessary to have a chair permanently affixed to the work surface (e.g., upper surface 120) of the table 100. Accordingly, the table 100 may be used in association with more convenient seating options such as a bench, stool, chair, or wheelchair.
 In some embodiments, upper surface 120 further includes a contoured cut-out portion 120a, in the form of a curved edge, that allows for the medical practitioner to reduce the distance across table 100 between the patient and the medical practitioner while still providing a sufficient work area to perform the medical procedure. Optionally, a contoured cut-out may be present on the patient side, the practitioner side, or both. The contoured cut-out is preferably substantially curved or curved, but any convenient shape (e.g., polygonal) may be used. This is a particularly useful configuration when the table 100 is configured as a phlebotomy table because the medical procedures (e.g., drawing blood) are performed on the arm of the patient which is held laterally from the patient's body, toward the bulbous areas of the work surface. Optionally, fixed lower surface 110 includes a similarly shaped contoured portion 110a so that when upper surface 120 is extended towards the patient (e.g., fully-extended), the two contours of 110a and 120a align to allow the aforementioned medical practitioner the desired access to countertop 120. Although curving contours 110a and 120a are depicted in the figures, any suitably shaped cut-out may be utilized to allow similar engagement by a medical practitioner with table 100.
 Table 100 also includes a drawer 140 for holding suitable tools, materials, etc. that may be of use to the medical practitioner. Drawer 140 may be of any suitable construction known in the art. In conjunction with drawer 140, fixed lower surface 110 includes a drawer shaped cut-out 110b to allow for drawer 140 to be mounted on the underside of upper surface 120 such that drawer 140 can be deeper than the vertical distance between countertop 120 and lower surface 110 while still allowing the full amount of desired lateral movement of upper surface 120 in relation to lower surface 110. Cut-out 110b must be of sufficient size and shape to allow movement of countertop 120 with respect to lower surface 110 while still accommodating drawer 140. Although the figures illustrate drawer 140 on the right-hand side of the practitioner, table 100 may be configured to provide a drawer on the left-hand side of the practitioner either in addition to or instead of drawer 140. Although the figures illustrate the drawer being attached to the upper surface 120, allowing it to remain in the same position relative to the practitioner regardless of the position of sliding upper surface 120, drawer 140 (or any other drawers) may be conveniently attached to fixed lower surface 110.
 Optionally, table 100 also includes an opening 150 in the upper surface 120. Opening 150 may be adapted to support, for example, for the insertion of an instrument tray 160. Typically in the medical fields, instrument trays are made of stainless steel, but could be made of any suitable material. Additionally, the tray or other insert may be used for any convenient purpose and is not limited to an instrument tray. As illustrated in FIG. 4, opening 150 is positioned on the practitioner's right-hand side and apart from drawer 140. It is recognized that opening 150 may be positioned in any convenient location that does not interfere with the operation of the table 100 or any of its components (e.g., drawer 140). For example, upper surface 120 may have one, two, three, or more openings 150 of the same or different dimensions and such openings 150 may be to the practitioner's left or right, or be located between the practitioner and the subject. Optionally, opening 150 may be located above drawer 140. In this configuration, the instrument tray 160 is preferably shallow in order that it does not significantly impair the utility of the drawer 140.
 Table 100 optionally further includes a locking system 200 to allow sliding upper surface 120 to be locked into a variety of positions in relation to lower surface 110. In one embodiment illustrated in FIG. 7, locking system 200 comprises a lock hole strip 210 having a plurality of positioning holes 220 mounted onto fixed lower surface 110. Positioning holes 220 allow for mating of a locking pin 230 which secures the sliding upper surface 120 into fixed position. The lock hole strip 210 may be made of steel, aluminum, wood, or any other suitable material. Alternatively, positioning holes 220 may also be formed directly into lower surface 110 without the need for a lock hole strip.
 In one embodiment, locking pin 230 is mounted through upper surface 120 and has a convenient pull knob or other feature to facilitate operation. Locking pin 230 may be a completely separate pin that a user may remove and insert as desired or locking pin 230 may be fixedly attached to upper surface 120 in such a manner, for example having a spring tensioner (not shown), that allows a user to pull knob 230 far enough so as to disengage from the positioning holes 220 while upper surface 120 is moved to a new position and then the spring tensioner draws pull knob 230 back toward lock hole bar 210 and into another of holes 220 when upper surface 120 is suitably aligned. One of skill in the art will understand that other similar locking systems known in the art may be utilized without deviating from the scope of the present invention.
 In some embodiments, both lower surface 110 and upper surface 120 include curved corners so as to reduce the potential hazards of sharp corners. In some embodiments, lower surface 110 and upper surface 120 include molding, for example, bumper tee molding that is commonly available in such institutional furniture applications, along the periphery to aid in reducing sharp corners and edges thus improving user safety.
 Table 100 may be used in conjunction with standard or customized patient seating to create a phlebotomy station whereby a patient is seated or otherwise positioned in relation to table 100. This station would be in contrast to existing phlebotomy chairs where the patient is required to sit in a chair with a work surface attached to the chair. Such phlebotomy chairs often present problems for persons with disabilities or the elderly or simply people who may have difficulty entering and exiting such phlebotomy chairs. A phlebotomy station of the kind envisioned by the present invention allows for standard seating, for example a bench or chair or stool or even simply an area for a patient to stand while upper surface 120 of table 100 is moved out of the way to allow the patient ease of access to the seating or standing area. Upper surface 120 may then be moved into position thereafter to allow for both patient and medical practitioner to be in an optimally desirable position in relation to each other and upper surface 120. Such standard seating may also allow for additional people, such as a patient's parent or chaperone to sit with the patient, for example to provide additional restraint or comfort more easily than with traditional phlebotomy chairs.
 Features of any above embodiments or figures may be used in combination with any one or more other features of the above embodiments of figures.
 Given the disclosure of the present invention, one skilled in the art should appreciate that there are other embodiments and modifications within the scope and spirit of the present invention. Accordingly, all modifications attainable by one of ordinary skill in the art from the present disclosure within the scope and spirit of the present invention are to be included as further embodiments of the present invention.
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