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The End of the Horrible Hospital Gown?

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

The open-backed, modesty-destroying, ugly hospital gown is set for oblivion, at least in the United Kingdom:

To address the shortcomings of the much-abused medical garb, the U.K.’s Department of Health recruited designer Ben de Lisi to give the hospital gown a design overhaul, the BBC reports. De Lisi, who has outfitted stars such as Kate Winslet, came up with a solution that offers more coverage while also including “entrance points” for the necessary medical access.

It’s about time.

Back when I was on the faculty of Cornell in the 1980s, I decided that no woman who visited my Cornell practice would be forced to wear one of those open-backed monstrosities.

They always made a woman feel all exposed. As a woman myself, I was especially sensitive to the indignity of it all.

So I designed a pretty blue poncho with an opening that fit over a woman’s head. It covered everything, and allowed for easy examination.

I’m surprised that more doctors and hospitals haven’t done anything similar but I like the U.K.’s new plan. Here’s hoping the U.S. follows suit.

– Yvonne S. Thornton, MD, MPH