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1. Field of the Invention

This invention falls in the field of lifting devices for certain types of handicapped or otherwise disabled persons, which devices are designed to enable such persons to be moved about from beds, wheelchairs and sitting chairs to bathtubs, toilets and wash basins, or to the other sitting or resting furniture. The invention may also be utilized for limb or body therapy or other forms of

2. Background of the Invention
For many decades, efforts have been made to provide means to lift and move patients who are not required by their conditions to remain in bed, as well as handicapped or other disabled persons, from their beds or seatings, to such facilities as toilets and bathtubs, both for their own comfort, as well as to lessen the burden of those, such as nurses and hospital orderlies, who may be charged with attending to the physical needs of such persons. When not so moved when the need requires, such patient or
handicapped person must be provided with bed pans,
urinating bottles and wash pans in order to keep the patient or other person clean or comfortable.

3. Description of the Prior Art
In order to accomplish the desired lifting and movement just described, a number of expedients have been devised, some examples of which are illustrated and described in the following patents:
Patent Nos. Inventors
5,038,425 Donald D. Merry
4,918,771 David R. James
4,704,749 Benjamin A. Aubert
4,530,122 Robert C. & Donald M. Sanders

4,574,410 Dieter Lassman et al.
2,914,110 Frederick J. Schulte
2,891,256 Vincent Scully

While the devices and/or arrangements of each of these patents may accomplish their particular objectives, each appears to be either somewhat complicated and, hence, expensive to manufacture, or not easily utilizable by the subject to whom it is to be applied. As a result, none of the devices and/or arrangements of these patents appears to have been widely adopted or marketed. In addition, none of the devices would be appear to be suitable for enabling such a handicapped person to be elevated to permit use of his or her own legs for supported walking.
What has been needed is a relatively inexpensive support which may be easily utilized by the patient or handicapped person and his or her attendant - or, depending upon the degree of disablement - by the person, alone, to provide some freedom for the person's lower body and legs.

4. Summary of the Invention

The basic element of the present invention is a torso support comprised of a rigid member designed to receive and support the person's abdomen and remainder of the upper torso. Extending upwardly from each side of the forward wall of this member is a vertical element which itself supports a rearwardly extending partially arcuate arm to receive one of the patient's arms adjacent an armpit. Lift means are provided for pivotable attachment to the torso support at the rear of and outside each extremity of the rigid member. Such lift means may either be a hydraulic lift of the "cherry picker" type; or the lifting means may be in the form of two pairs of flexible elements, such as straps, ropes or cables, connected to a cable from some type of tracked trolley or other overhead lifting means. In the latter case, one pair of the flexible elements is pivotally attached at the rear and outside the extremities of the rigid. member, and the second pair of flexible elements is secured to the tops of the vertical elements, in order to prevent the torso support from flipping over.
The torso support is brought into a position where the patient's abdomen is pressed against the inner wall of the rigid member and his or her armpits are seated in the arcs of the partially arcuate rearwardly extending arms. Where a "cherry picker" lift is employed, the patient may grasp the yoke of the base of the U-portion of the device which is attached to the torso support. Upon leaning forward the patient is then in a position to be raised by the jacking of the hydraulic lever of the "cherry picker". The latter may then be wheeled toward the bathroom or other area into which the patient is to be moved, providing the patient with either entire or partial support. Desirably, the patient's legs may extend down to where his or her feet are actually on the floor and, indeed, may attempt to provide some ambulatory support, or at least make an effort to do so. Upon reaching the desired destination, such as a toilet, the hydraulic jack may be lowered to permit seating of the patient.
Where ropes or cables are attached to the torso support from some overhead lifting means, the latter is worked to provide a similar elevation and lowering of the torso support for the patient.
A particular advantage of the support arrangement of the present invention over at least some of the prior patented devices lies in the fact that the portion of the body below the upper torso is left free, so that there may easily be removed any garment covering that portion of the body to permit use of the toilet, bathing or changing of clothes. Such removal of clothes and toilet use is not easily accomplished where the patient is lifted by means of a seat or body encompassing lifting device of the prior art patents.
Another advantage of the present invention lies in the fact that it obviates lifting strain on the part of nurses or others who may be attempting to assist the patient move up and out of a bed or chair to some other location, such as a toilet, thereby minimizing workman's compensation or other injury claims on the part of the nurses or others.

5. Description of the Drawings
In the accompanying drawings,
Figure 1 is a side elevation, partly in phantom, of the invention employed with a "cherry picker" type lifting device;
Figure 2 is a perspective view of the torso support looking at it from one side and the rear;
Figure 3 is a perspective view of the torso support looking from the opposite side and the front;
Figure 4 is a front elevation of the torso support;
Figure 5 is a perspective view showing the torso support mounted between the arms of a "cherry picker" and initially being mounted by a patient;
Figure 6 illustrates the manner in which the patient then moves forward and is lifted by the "cherry picker";
Figure 7 is a side schematic view of the torso suppor attached by flexible elements to the lower end of a cable; Figure 8 is a perspective view similar to Figure 3 , but showing the manner in which the flexible elements may be attached to the torso support for connection to the cable as shown in Figure 7.
Figure 9 is a side elevation similar to Figure 1 of a modified embodiment of the invention; and
Figure 10 is a perspective view similar to Figure 3 illustrating the modified torso support and the manner of its hinged attachment to a different type of lifting arm. 6. Description of the Preferred Embodiment
Figure 1 of the drawings illustrates the manner in which the present invention may be employed with a simple mobile hydraulically actuated device 10 sometimes referred to as a "cherry picker". Such a device 10 may comprise a pair of lower frame members 12 spaced apart from each other (not shown) and connected together at their forward
extremities 14 by a transverse member 16. Some type of vertical element or elements 18 extend upwardly from the transverse member 16 to provide, at the upper extremity 20, a pivotable connection thereto of a hydraulically actuated arm 22. Such actuation may be provided by a hydraulic piston cylinder combination 24 which is interposed between a lug 26 fixedly secured to the vertical element 18 and a second lug 28 on the arm 22. The arm 22 may be centrally connected at 30 to a U-shaped frame 32 more fully shown in Figure 5.
The U-shaped frame 32 may comprise a pair of parallel arms 34 and 36, the forward ends of which are fixedly connected to the transverse member 38 to which the arm 22 is secured at 40. A lever 42 may be provided to serve as a means for operating the hydraulic piston cylinder
combination 24 to raise or lower the arm 22.
The "cherry picker" 10 per se is of the type which is well known and has had many different types of uses, and is not an invention of the present applicant. The manner in which it is used, however, in conjunction with the torso support 44 which is about to be described, does constitute an invention of the present applicant. Referring to
Figures 2, 3 and 4 of the drawing, the torso support 44 is comprised of a transverse member 46 having a vertical forward wall 48 and an inner wall 50 which, preferably, may be arcuate. The height of the wall 50 should approximate the dimension of the height of the average person's
abdomen, i.e., the area between the hip bones and the lower portion of the rib cage, or between 7 and 9 inches. The forward wall 48 of the member 46 desirably may be generally planar, although it could be somewhat arcuate, i.e., either slightly concave or convex. Extending rearwardly at right angles from the side extremities 52, 54 of the forward wall 48 are a pair of vertical planar side walls 56 and 58. The member 50 should be formed of a material which is rigid and of sufficient strength to carry most of the weight of even a heavy person, e.g. as much as 400 lbs.
The torso support 44 further comprises a pair of rigid vertical support elements 60, 62 each of which is formed with a rearwardly extending arcuate arm support member 64 , 66 respectively. Each vertical element 60, 62 is
preferably pivotally attached at one side of the forward wall 48, at 68, 70, respectively. In order to permit limited angular rotation about the pivot points 68, 70, as best shown in Figure 4, the forward wall 48 may be recessed at 72, 74 respectively.
In use with the cherry picker 10, the outer
extremities 34a, 36a, of the arms 34, 36 respectively are pivotally connected by pins 76 to the lower rear corners 56a, 58a, of the planar side walls 56, 58 respectively.
The cherry picker arms 34 r 36 with the thus pivotally attached torso support 10 is advanced toward the patient 78 to where the patient may then place the arcuate arm
supports 64, 66 under her upper arms and lean forward to grasp the member 22, as shown in Figure 5. Upon then leaning forward somewhat as shown in Figure 6, when the lever 42 is operated to jack up the piston cylinder
combination 24, the member 22 will then be elevated in the manner shown in phantom in Figure 1, thereby lifting the patient 78 out of the chair 82 or other seating position.

The cherry picker 10 with the thus supported patient 78 may then be rolled by means of the wheels 84 to any other location such as a bed, toilet, bath, tub or a different seating location, either with or without any ambulatory support which may be provided by the patient's legs should the patient desire to utilize his or her legs for such ambulatory support.

The torso support 10 may also be employed with an overhead cable lifting-type device in the manner shown in Figure 7. When so utilized, a cable 88 which may be raised or lowered by a pulley wheel 90 may be supported by some type of trolley 92 which runs on a track 94. In this arrangement, a cable connector 96 is provided to which two pairs of straps 98 and 100 may be clipped. The pair of straps 98 provide the basic support by pivotal attachment to the lower rear corners 56a, 58a, of the planar side walls 56, 58, while the straps 100 are attached near the upper extremities 102, 104 of the vertical elements 60, 62 respectively, in order to prevent the possibility of the patient 78 tipping too far forward about the pivot points 56b, 58b.
The application of the invention to the cable trolley system illustrated in Figure 7 may be particularly useful where it is desired to develop strength in a person's legs after some type of surgery or other medical treatment since the cable 88 may be lowered by degrees to place only as much weight upon the patient's legs as desired by the physician or therapist, and the patient may be coaxed into trying to walk along a straight line.
The preferred embodiment of the invention is
illustrated in Figures 9 and 10 of the drawings. In this embodiment it may be seen that the mobile hydraulic device ten' differs somewhat from that shown in Figure 1. Thus in Figure 9 the arm 22' is pivotally connected at 106 to a lower point 108 on the vertical element 18' to be raised or lowered by a hydraulic piston cylinder combination 24' actuated by fluid from a pump 110.
As may be seen from a comparison of Figures 3 and 10 the torso support in the Figure 10 embodiment may be comprised of a simple flat plate-like transverse element 112 , having hinge means 114 on its forward wall 48 ' . In contrast to the bifurcated attaching means 34 and 36 shown in Figure 5, the arm 22' at its forward end 22A' may be bifurcated to produce a pair of spaced apart lugs 116 haying coaxial openings 118 adapted to encompass the ends of an orificed lower extension 120 of the hinged means 114. The orifice 122 of the extension 120 may thus be coalligned with the openings 118 to receive a bolt 124 which when passed through the openings 118 and the orifice 122 may be secured against withdrawal by a nut 126.
For the convenience of the person being lifted, a handle 128 may be fixedly secured at its base to the arm 22'.
It will be appreciated that the necessary swinging movement for the torso support 14' in the embodiment of Figures 9 and 10 may be accomplished through the hinging means 114 directly at the forward end of the arm 22', in contrast to the swinging movement for the embodiment of Figure 1 through 6 about the pivoting attachment points 56b and 58b. Further, because the arm 22' is not bifurcated in the manner shown in Figures 5 and 6, the mobile device 10' may be made to occupy less space and be of lesser weight than that of the embodiment of Figures 1 through 6.
It will be noted that with the torso support 10 of the present invention, the lower body portion of the patient is left free. This enables either the patient or the person caring for the patient to remove and/or change any garments which are applied to the lower body portion of the patient and, further, to enable the lower body portion to use a toilet or bathing facility and to be washed.
The present invention is quite simple and inexpensive to construct and, as is illustrated and explained, may be utilized either with a cherry picker type lifting device or an overhead cable or other overhead suspension arrangement.