I once prided myself on the fact that I had never had to visit a hospital, much less stay
overnight in one or undergo outpatient surgery in one. Age has deprived me of that pride. I now must admit to having
visited greater Boston's hospitals tens of times over the past decade or so. Besides the normal visits for annual or
semi-annual physicals, I have found it necessary to make use of the excellent greater Boston medical services to
repair aged and damaged knees, backs, and wrists. In addition, for the past 6 or 7 years, I have undergone some 4 to
6 internal inspections each and every year. With the exception of the routine physical examinations, all of these
visits have required that I discard my clothes and wear a hospital gown or "Johnny". Let me say how impressed I have
been with the technological advancements in medicine that I have witnessed during my many visits to these hospitals.
I have seen the marvels of digital imaging provided by new X-ray systems, CT scans and MRI's. Gone are the old days
of wet processing X-ray films like photographic film. My medical records are provided to me on digital compact
discs. Surgeries on my knee, back and wrist have been done arthroscopically and I have been up and about within one
day of the surgeries with scars that need a large magnifier to be seen. BUT, the hospital Johnny that I am forced
to wear is pure vintage 19th century. Why must I suffer the indignity of wearing these outlandish costumes in this
the 21st century?
The hospital Johnny often comes as one-size-fits-all. I'm some 6' 2" tall and weight in at
over 240 lbs. One-size-fits-all usually does not fit me at all. Further, the hospital gown requires that I tie bow
knots behind my back in order to cover my back side. I am pretty much all thumbs and have enough trouble tieing a
bow knot in my shoe laces when everything is in front of me. Why do the hospital mavens expect me to be able to tie
bow knots behind my back? If I were a woman, who had spent her adult life fastening bras in back, I might have a
fighting chance, but being of the male persuasion, I have not acquired the necessary skills and dexterity.
I might not have the worst looking butt in the world and might consider exposing it for a
fee. But, the hospital does not offer me any compensation for exposing myself and besides, the hospital corridors
are drafty. I prefer to have my butt covered.
Haven't the greater Boston hospitals heard about buttons, snaps, or Velcro? These fasteners
have been available for some time now. Rosemary Gibson in a posting titled, Down with the Gown! on December
1, 2006 said about the traditional hospital gown, "Itís something that is universally derided . . . the flimsy and
immodest gown that patients are given when they visit the doctor or hospital. A mid-level manager at a hospital
acknowledged, 'Yeah, the gowns we give to patients are rags.' While hospitals have become more high-tech, the
patient gown has remained basically the same. I think of it as a 'cadaver cloth' because it must have been designed
for people who would never get up and walk around in it!" I agree!
So, please before my next hospital visit that requires my wearing a Johnny, can't the
hospitals get some gowns that cover all of me and which I can fasten without dislocating my aged shoulders? By the
way, more fashionable hospitals gowns have been designed and are available and there are hospital attires that
nearly everyone can put on and fasten without the aid of a second party. Are my Boston hospitals listening?