New hospital gowns

Farm Forum

Several years ago I complained about hospital gowns and the predicament they left you in.

I wondered why, after all the wonderful and remarkable advances in medicine over the centuries, there had apparently been no effort to improve on those one-size fits all, threadbare, patched-up hospital gowns.

Think of all the patients through the years that have suffered dislocated shoulders and broken arms trying to get into them, fasten them properly, or remove this weirdly designed article of clothing that doesn’t follow the rules.

Rather than having some kind of opening on the front that has been a clothing tradition since before Nero burned Rome, all of the action is at the rear of the gown.

Not only do you have to wear them, but you have to wear them backwards.

Now, a product designer for the Henry Ford Innovation Institute has come up with an alternative that’s in use at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. Made of a thicker material, it keeps patients warm, it closes with snaps instead of ties and is adjustable to fit all sizes.

The big news is at the back of the grown. There is one! There’s no breezy gap at the back, and the new gowns have a stylish look like something you’d wear at a spa.

That’s a far cry from the gown now in use. Those are a part of a sinister hospital tradition, I suppose, like little red squares of Jell-O and $5 aspirins.

Except for the Detroit hospital, I think those old gowns, red squares of Jell-O and the myriad of charges are universal in the medical field.

I’m pretty sure hospital people will tell you the gown that’s been around as long as sliced bread is designed so that in emergencies, physicians and nurses have rapid access to various human locations and mechanisms.

That could be, but I’ve seen basketball players and vaudeville performers pull off snap-on pants in less time than it takes to figure out where the hospital gown’s sleeves are, or how to tie it all together in the back.

Surely health professionals, wonderful people all, are aware that most of what goes haywire with the human body is not on a human’s backside where the gown’s drafty easy-access is located, but on the front side.

I suspect hospital gowns are made the way they are because wearing one takes the patients’ minds off all the other things that are about to happen to them.

I mean, how in the name of Joseph Lister can you worry about bypass surgery, or your ability to pay your hospital bill or whatever, when you just know your cold keester is making a chilly curtain call back there for a snickering hallway audience?

Can you hum “Blue Moon?”

I’m told the newly designed gowns cost about as much as the current, 17th century design.

So now that a new hospital gown is on its way, I’d like to suggest the old gowns be sold as surplus to our Homeland Security office with the thought that when Homeland Security drafts new rules for people who fly, airline passengers be required to strip down and don a hospital gown for their entire airline trip.

You absolutely can’t hide a weapon, or anything for that matter, in the hospital gowns of today.

With word that there is a new, spiffy-looking, less drafty gown on the way, I hope my hosptial will be first in line to order a shipment.

I’m a size 36.

And I’d like mine monogrammed, with a vest pocket, so I can carry my own aspirins from home.

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