06 September 2006

A sequel to The British Patient?

Two hospitals in northwestern England will be offering head-to-toe gowns for Muslim women who request them, officials said Tuesday. Here is the new gown being modeled:

The gown is not as forbidding or restrictive for the women as it could appear from the picture.

Jacob said the gown could be adapted to show a user's whole face, or to expose only a strip across the eyeline.

So there is plenty of room for self-expression. Only - it is not clear why the designers did not think about the possibly mandatory attachments to the gown. How about all the infrastructure that has to support, say, an oxygen mask and all the other incoming and outgoing tubes?

On the other hand, the new gown could cause a backlash the designers may have not thought about. According to this article, "One in six people in Britain's capital have admitted moving seats on public transport to avoid a passenger they think is Muslim, according to a survey published." One in six is not that horrible yet, but imagine the awkwardness of the situation when your spouse who is going to give birth (for example) starts a terrible fuss instead, unwilling to share the hospital room with a person in such a gown. We can't have this kind of trouble, can we?

So, instead of singling out the Muslim patients for this garb, I propose to enforce it as a mandatory gown for all the patients - male ones included. The gown looks fairly unisex, and what is good for the goose...

Oh, and one other oversight is clear from the picture of the gown - there is a need of a card holder for the patient's name. Unless there is some privacy law in UK that...

Cross-posted on Yourish.com