Foldable High G-Force Resistant Patient Litter
Navy SBIR 2014.2 - Topic N142-089
MARCOR - Ms. Elizabeth Madden - sbir.admin@usmc.mil
Opens: May 23, 2014 - Closes: June 25, 2014

N142-089 TITLE: Foldable High G-Force Resistant Patient Litter

TECHNOLOGY AREAS: Materials/Processes

ACQUISITION PROGRAM: PM Combat Support Systems (CSS), PdM Combat Support Equipment (CSE)

OBJECTIVE: Develop a litter that can be folded for one-man carry, is lightweight, and resilient enough to withstand the G-force of a rotary wing and tilt-rotor aircraft while transporting a patient and their associated medical equipment.

DESCRIPTION: Medical devices are designed to function in environmentally controlled locations, such as hospitals, and not in the harsh, dynamic environment of aircraft. However, the same medical devices, including those used by the Marine Corps (Ref. 1-3), used to care for patients in a hospital environment are often the most capable devices for patient care during transport from one facility to another. The current patient litter used by the Marine Corps is the Talon II rated for a payload of 1200 lbs (Ref. 1). The Talon II is foldable for carrying by one man. It can be configured for transport aboard all Marine Corps rotary and tilt-rotor aircraft; however, it is not able to meet the Joint Enroute Care Equipment Test Standard (JECETS) for acceleration and crash. The JECETS document describes the test procedures for air worthiness for medical equipment that will be used on board United States military transport vehicles during enroute patient care (Ref. 4, 5). Equipment such as ventilators, physiological monitors, suction devices, oxygen tanks, and mounting brackets are all attached to and carried with the patient litter. These Patient Movement Items (PMIs) can weigh from 50200 lbs. each. Add the weight of the patient (Ref. 6), and the litter is required to sustain a combined weight of 400 lbs., or more. During transport missions, commonly referred to as medical evacuation (MEDEVAC) and aeromedical evacuation (AE) missions, the litter will be subjected to forces as much as 12 times the weights discussed, for a period of up to one minute. Failure of medical devices, such as patient litters, during in-flight medical care may result in exposing patients and aircrew to hazardous situations, including equipment becoming unsecured within the aircraft cabin. Commercially available solutions such as backboards and rigid litters can sustain higher G-forces than foldable litters; however, they are not robust enough in design to be able to meet JECETS requirements or robust enough for use in Marine Corps applications.

For these reasons, the Marine Corps seeks the application of advance materials and structural design concepts to develop innovative approaches in the design of a foldable, patient litter capable of meeting the airworthiness testing of JECETS and the environmental tests of MIL-STD 810G (Ref. 6). The litter must accommodate and support the weight of the patient and any associated PMI. Proposed concepts must also maintain structural integrity when subjected to the forces identified in the JECETS for up to one minute and must have an expected life of at least 5 years. Cube and weight of the litter, when folded for carry, shall not exceed 1 cubic foot and 17 lbs. Proposed concepts have the added technical challenge of the need to be fully operable in the challenging environments and climates encountered by Marines in the field. Proposed concepts shall operate in all climates and environments that may be encountered such as arctic, desert, jungle, and coastal and shall not operationally degrade when ambient temperatures are between 125F and -25F. Proposed concepts must be able to fully operate in all humidity levels up to 100 percent and must be resistant to the effects of salt/water spray, and extreme sand and dust conditions to the extent outlined in MIL-STD-810G. Proposed material systems shall be structurally resilient; however, they must also be lightweight in order to meet the Human Engineering lift requirements of MIL-STD 1472G (Ref. 7).

PHASE I: The small business will develop concepts for an improved patient litter that meets the requirements highlighted in the description. The small business will demonstrate the feasibility of the concepts in meeting Marine Corps needs and will establish that the concepts can be developed into a useful product for the Marine Corps. Feasibility will be established by material testing and analytical modeling, as appropriate. The small business will also provide a Phase II development plan with performance goals, key technical milestones, and a technical risk reduction strategy.

PHASE II: Based on the results of Phase I and the Phase II development plan, the small business will develop a scaled prototype for evaluation. The prototype will be evaluated to determine its capability in meeting the performance goals defined in the Phase II development plan and the Marine Corps requirements for patient litters. System performance will be demonstrated through prototype evaluation and modeling or analytical methods over the required range of parameters including numerous deployment cycles. Evaluation results will be used to refine the prototype into an initial design that will meet Marine Corps requirements. The company will prepare a Phase III development plan to transition the technology to Marine Corps use.

PHASE III: If Phase II is successful, the small business will provide support in transitioning the technology for Marine Corps use. The small business will develop a plan to determine the effectiveness of the new patient litter in an operationally relevant environment. The small business will support the Marine Corps with certifying and qualifying the system for Marine Corps use. When appropriate the small business will focus on scaling up manufacturing capabilities and commercialization plans.

PRIVATE SECTOR COMMERCIAL POTENTIAL/DUAL-USE APPLICATIONS: The potential for commercial application and dual use is high. Beyond the Marine Corps application, there are applications for humanitarian aid and disaster relief. Municipal safety organizations may also use these litters for patient movement.

REFERENCES:
1. North American Rescue, "Talon II Model 90C Collapsible Handle Litter," http://www.narescue.com/Talon_II_Model_90C_Collapsible_Handle_Litter-CNB06BC8635AF5.html.

2. Impact Instrumentation, Emergency Products Catalog, http://www.jdhmedical.com/Resources/Impact%20Catalog.pdf.

3. Thornhill Research, Inc. Monitoring Oxygen Ventilation External Suction (MOVES), http://www.thornhillresearch.com/p-moves.html.

4. U.S. Army Aeromedical Research Laboratory (USAARL) and U.S. Air Force Aeromedical Branch (ASC/WNUP), Aeromedical Test Laboratory (ATL), Joint Enroute Care Equipment Test Standard (JECETS), 1 Mar 2012, https://www.dmsb.mil/refDocs/JECETS-Joint%20Airworthiness.pdf.

5. North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Standardization Agency (NSA) Standardization Agreement (STANAG) 2040; Stretchers, Bearings Brackets and Attachment Support Edition 7, 18 Nov 2013, http://infostore.saiglobal.com/store/Details.aspx?productID=1698777.

6. Department of Defense, MIL-STD-810G, Department of Defense Test Method Standard: Environmental Engineering Considerations and Laboratory Tests, 31 Oct 2008, http://www.atec.army.mil/publications/Mil-Std-810G/Mil-std-810G.pdf.

7. MIL-STD-1472G, Department of Defense Design Criteria Standard: Human Engineering, 11 January 2012, http://www.assistdocs.com/search/document_details.cfm?ident_number=36903.

KEYWORDS: patient litter; patient movement; enroute care; medical transport; air worthiness; foldable litter

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