Tuesday, October 26, 2010

one of the earliest pneumatic tube systems in a hospital?

I recently came across an article called Pneumatic Tube Systems, in a 1966 issue of the British Medical Journal (1st January 1966, p49 - 50). Could it be mentioning one of the earliest pneumatic tube system infrastructures in a hospital?

SIR,- The use of pneumatic-tube transmission systems in general and in hospitals in particular is by no means new. Some of the earlier hospital systems received very adverse criticism, and this undoubtedly delayed progress of this efficient and speedy service so far as hospitals were concerned.

Recently a two-way point-to-point tube system by Dialled Despatches Ltd., Gosport, was installed in this department for the specific purpose of conveying exposed but undeveloped x-ray films from an x-ray room at a return clinic area to a developing room fitted with an automatic processing unit some 100 ft (30 meters) away at the other end of a long and relatively narrow building. Dry developed films are returned to the clinic in an average time of nine minutes. I believe that this may be the first tube system to be so used, and it has been found to be very effective in practice. The exposed film is removed from its cassette in a dark cubicle some 3 ft. square (0.8 sq. metre), marked with the patient's name, date, etc., rolled in its original packing paper in order to avoid unnecessary handling and static marks, and placed in the cylindrical aluminium carrier, which is then put into the sending tube. Two or even three films, if necessary, can be put into a carrier at any one time. The carriers are long enough to take the largest x-ray films, and are, of course, light-tight. The receiving end of the return tube has been separated from the sending tube, and is situated outside the dark cubicle so that the developed films can be delivered to the clinic without interrupting the radiographer. The cost of installation of this system was not greater than the cost of constructing and equipping a small but conventional darkroom, for which, in any case, there was insufficient space available in the area, and the need for additional dark-room technical assistance was avoided.

Although this simple point-to-point system was installed for one particular purpose, trials using special inserts in the carriers have shown that laboratory specimens and blood samples can be safely transmitted without damage or lysis. These experiments suggest that larger installations, either fully or semi-automatic, and relying on the operation of recently developed and much more reliable proximity switches, should play a major role in future hospital design and equipment. - I am, etc.,

A.M.Murray, Casualty Department, Royal Infirmary,
Glasgow C.4.

The article certainly seems to be detailing the very early use of pneumatic networks for transporting films and pathology samples. This x-ray system is undoubtedly a precursor to modern day electronic platforms, such as PACS, designed for the efficient transmission of radiological images, "without interrupting the radiographer".

No comments:

Post a Comment