Austere Medicine: Improvised Aspirator

Aspirator, one medical device I do not want to be without when I need it.  In an effort to be prepared I wanted to have several options.  Every once and a while something will catch my eye as potentially useful for this purpose.

One item is the FreshSaver battery operated hand held vacuum pump and another, a Harbor Freight transfer pump.  Something battery operated and something manual.  I was fairly confident the FreshSaver would work but had no faith in the transfer pump because of the quality.

By drilling out the hole on the FreshSaver I was able to retain the plastic seal.  It works perfectly on the tapered fittings on any suction canister.  It had very strong suction.  When I was experimenting with it I covered the inlet and let the vacuum draw on the unit and believe it has adequate suction to work well.  The battery may not last very long but it might last enough to get though a bad situation.  I like the way it worked so well I’ve added the FreshSaver to my aspirator kit as a backup.

The transfer pump worked much better than expected.  Didn’t have much trust in it but it worked.  The video footage demonstrates it.  Battery operated is fine, however I always want a manual way that doesn’t include batteries or electricity.  The transfer pump connected to any standard suction canister will be effective in my mind as long as all the connections are leak free.  Another one added to the aspirator kit for backup.

Some things to remember, when the vacuum pump is connected the canister will be top heavy so it must be accounted for.  Also the nipple connected to the pump could snap off from the weight of the pump or by getting bumped.  In the video I had configured the pump to connect via hose instead of directly to the nipple.  This reduces the risk of both the top heavy issue and snapping of the nipple.  I felt this configuration would work best because it makes the control to the vacuum more accessible.

It was a challenge to sync the videos so I could get the best audio but it worked.  I have an experiment in mind using clapping and will use it next time I make a multi camera video.  Below is a video I filmed when I made this experiment.  I used three old iPhones, one i5 and two i4’s.  Footage shot above from the front looked like it was recorded on a VCR from an antenna fed television in the 1980’s.  So we’re stuck with a partially blocked screen side view and a very clear side/front view.  Surprisingly the angles caught all of it. -13

VIDEO BELOW

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