The cordless speculum

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An evolutionary, not revolutionary, spin on illumination

While perhaps not quite as sexy as the latest airway gadget this little device will make a great addition to your ED arsenal. As someone who works in a large academic inner-city ED we do our fair share of what amounts to primary care OB/GYN. What makes this item any better than what you may already be using? Well that depends on what you are already using. If you’ve yet to step up to a light source that plugs directly into the specula then this will show vast improvements above and beyond the over-the-shoulder light. For those currently using a corded system that plugs into the specula the improvements will be minor yet noticeable.
The system requires two parts to function. The first is the 590 Series KleenSpec Vaginal Specula which consists of a clear acrylic specula in various sizes. The specula is transparent allowing for viewing of the vaginal wall through the specula. It is also a single use item so while not very green, clean-up and sterilization is not a concern. The second component is the light source. As opposed to a traditional light source with a cord that plugs into an electrical outlet this device consists of a single cordless light source. The light is a single LED with a rechargeable battery. Once plugged into the handle of the specula the light source diffusely illuminates the entire specula while offering a focused beam that is directed on your center of vision via a light channel. The light offers 80 minutes of continuous on-time per charge.
Benefits of the device include a much brighter light than the older version, but the most notable benefit over corded devices is of course the lack of a cord. You no longer have to worry about how close the bed is to an outlet. There are no plastic cord sleeves to fuss with, and no cords to worry about getting in the way or bloodying up.
Drawback: As with so many things, the cordless speculum’s biggest benefit, its lack of a cord, is also its biggest negative. The light source measures a mere 1 x 3 inches allowing for a multitude of ways for the light to disappear in a busy ED. If your staff are closet kleptomaniacs, I see the average light lasting a few days. But then again, what are you going to use a vaginal speculum light at home for?
In the end this item offers an evolutionary not revolutionary change in specula. With the benefit of cordless freedom comes the drawback of an easily misplaced item.
Jason C. Wagner, MD is on the emergency medicine faculty at Washington University in St. Louis, where he specializes in technology, difficult airways and medical simulation.

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