Breakaway Stethoscope

Joshua Allen Stivers of Puyallup, WA recently received a patent for a "breakaway stethoscope." It works like a normal stethoscope, but breaks apart if someone tries to use it as a garrote to strangle a person:

Medical staff, such as doctors, nurses and technicians, are often required to deal with unruly and/or aggressive patients that may become violent and cause injury to themselves or others. Medical staff also often carry and wear a stethoscope while working and tend to rest the stethoscope around the neck and on the shoulders when not in use. Unfortunately, violent patients may see that as an opportunity to harm the doctor, nurse or technician by grabbing the stethoscope that is resting on the wearer's neck and strangle or injure the wearer and in some cases cause death. Thus, there is a need for a breakaway stethoscope that will separate into two or more pieces when forcefully pulled on or forcefully wrapped around a doctor's, nurse's, or technician's throat to prevent injury or death to the doctor, nurse or technician.

A quick google search reveals that stethoscopes become weapons disturbingly often. So it's kind of surprising that breakaway ones aren't already standard issue.

Derby Evening Telegraph - Aug 9, 1948

via Jeff Steck
     Posted By: Alex - Thu Nov 17, 2022
     Category: Crime | Medicine | Patents | Weapons

I worked at a prison for 30 years. Our uniform had a clip on tie for the same reason. After a few years, I bought full size ties with velcro behind the neck. They were much more comfortable than that little metal clip at my neck.
Posted by Big Mike on 11/17/22 at 11:12 AM
I'd expect that the part where the separation occurs would be prone to leaking and causing distortion to interfere with the sounds. Plus, over time that connector would become weak. I can envision a scene where medical personnel are urgently listening to someone's heart and OOPS the stethoscope comes a part.
Posted by Teri on 11/18/22 at 12:26 AM
Teri -- My only experience with things of this nature is setting up the lines which spray coolant on parts being machined. One rule of thumb is that the easier it is to disconnect a line, the more it'll leak. I don't know about sound distortion, but I strongly suspect you're right about that, too.

What's to prevent someone grabbing the ear buds and pulling back to strangle someone?

It seems to me it'd be far better to have each tube separate from the yoke.

Posted by Phideaux on 11/18/22 at 11:26 AM
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