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Hide The Backside: Maryland Hospital Testing Out More Dignified Gowns

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Derriere-bearing hospital gowns may soon be a thing of the past.

Patients at the MedStar Montgomery Medical Center in Olney are among the first to wear a new, less revealing style of gown being tested by the hospital group.

The gown is the result of a partnership between Parsons School of Design in Manhattan and "healthwear company" Care+Wear.

It is an "all-in-one, full coverage solution for patients," styled similarly to a kimono, Care+Wear says.

"It gives you terrific access, and the patient feels safe and protected and comfortable," according to Dr. Mark Smith, Chief Innovation Officer of MedStar Health and the Director of the MedStar Institute for Innovation.

"No one has ever kind of taken the approach we have. Of working with both clinicians, designers, and patients," said Maryland native and CEO of Care+Wear Chat Razdan. "So, you're going to wear this like a bath robe. Having something that allows you to feel comfortable and allows you to mind of maintain your dignity, I think is so important."

It's designed with plastic snaps for quick access, personal pockets, and most importantly: a closed back.  It's taking aim at the traditional gown that's long been the butt of many jokes.

"Patient gowns, I'm talking about the old patient gowns, give a new meaning to the term 'ICU,'" said chief medical officer Dr. Frederick Finelli. "You can wear one gown, and people can't see your butt as you walk around the hospital."

Several other hospitals are also piloting these new gowns, before they can be used at hospitals nationwide.

"The current patient gown, with the ties in the back, reinforces a power imbalance between patients and caregivers," Smith said in a New York Times Style section piece about the gown published Jan. 3. "Patients get stripped of their sense of personhood, of their privacy."

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