Disrobing Patients

No, this will not be an angst-filled post about the horrors of seeing beautiful female patients in their birthday suits. I’m pretty much over that.

This is the complete opposite. Most ED’s go through phases with their staffs about the relative importance of different tasks, and to whom it is important.

Last night I went into an exam room to see a patient, with a series of complaints indicating a very very thorough exam would be needed. This patient was in bed, covered by a hospital sheet and a blanket from home. Also, this patient was wearing a hat, an overcoat, a complete (and stylish) outfit underneath, shoes and Mittens! I said hello, got the very basics of the history, and asked the patient be assisted into changing for an exam.

I mean, I’m good, but I’m not THAT good.

It should be noted that our techs, who place patients in rooms, are very busy themselves with several things to get done in a short amount of time. They have things that are important for them to do, either because they take pride in the accomplishment, or they get immediate negative feedback. These things are typically done.

Then there are those things that aren’t important to them, for which they get negative feedback from everybody. Patients, for some reason, resist changing into a thin, ill-fitting, dehumanizing gown for an exam, and they tend to tell the tech what they think of that. So, they don’t change. Then in comes the doc, says howdy, and immediately finds the nearest tech to get the patient into a gown.

I do my part, I help with the stupid snaps on the arms (I have seen several very frustrated patients who just couldn’t figure out the fabric-origami and kind of wore it like a toga: they always get style points from me).

Anyway, meet us halfway. Take your clothes off, er, change into the gown. It’ll make one aspect of your ED visit a little faster.


  1. I either find them fully clothed
    … or spread-eagled in the middle of a Foley insertion. {shudder}

  2. I think blankets from home should be banned. I let my husband take my tapestry/cat blanket to the ER with him Friday because he had the chills, they admitted him with pneumonia …he still has my blanket!!! He won’t let me have it back. If the ER banned blankets from home, I’d have my blanket ;)

    On a side note, I went to help him get into bed after coming back from a CT scan yesterday, when he got off the gurney, I about fell over laughing, he was STILL Wearing his BLUE JEANS!!!!
    They’d gotten his shirt off and him into a gown, but they’d not gotten his pants off !!!

  3. Many times my nurse has said, “oh, you won’t need to put on a gown, and the doctor will be right in. Then the doctor wondered why I wasn’t in the gown, thank goodness the doc never blamed me!!! Kathy

  4. I was at ER last Wednesday nite. The tech handed me a gown and said “remove everything except your underwear including your socks.” I did exactly as told and I even figured out the damn snaps on the sleeves. In comes the Dr. and says “well, you didn’t need to remove your blouse.” Ya just can’t win with these ER docs.

  5. GOod to see everyone posting has such a pleasant sense of humor about it! But seriously…needing to examine a patient, and having to leave the room and come back when they are gowned really wastes much more time than it takes to actually change into the gown. The frustrating part of the ER is that so many tasks happen in series, rather than in parallel.