The problem of the obstructed airway and its surgical alleviation has been a constant source of concern to the medical profession and in particular to the physicians who have had minimal surgical experience. With the increasing indications for use today and the future potential of mass casualties, a search for a rapid, safe, and technically acceptable tracheotomy procedure is sought. Recently, one of us (J. E. S.) has described an instrument which introduces a latex band onto the umbilical cord for hemostasis following delivery.1 Modification of this instrument has provided a rapid and safe method for introduction of a tracheotomy tube into the obstructed airway.
The device to be described falls into the so-called punch-type category. It is a blunt-tipped, three-bladed spreading device which when opened spreads in three directions. On one of these blades a sharp knife-blade is provided which may be advanced or retracted by action of