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  • Debbie Murphy

#DownWithTheGown

This week the hospital gown has hit the news following an excellent article in the British Medical Journal by Dr David Oliver. The piece titled There's No Dignity in Hospital Gowns. was taken up by national newspapers including the Telegraph and the Times with a campaign slogan of #DownWithTheGown which Dr Oliver shared on Twitter


Thanks to a wonderful blog review about my own hospital gown design, I got to hear about #DownWithTheGown when blogger MWrites shared the post on Twitter. That is where I joined the conversation.


The hashtag gathered momentum as did the subject matter and on Monday morning I received a call from BBC Scotland asking for an interview (listen from 1:53). This meant a hasty introduction to Skype after which my input was pre-recorded for the drive time news show. Also in the discussion was Dr Liza Morton, Psychologist who was discussing her findings on the psychological impact of the hospital gown.


The media interest didn't end there, a call from BBC WM invited me to join the Breakfast Show hosts Samantha Meah and Daz Hale on Wednesday. A car arrived early to pick me up but the Birmingham rush hour traffic meant I made the studio with no time to spare. The interview (tune in at 2:19mins) went well though and I was asked about my transition from fashion designer to cancer patient. I explained my swift introduction to the hospital gown which saw the loss of my identity and dignity as I became another patient on another ward. With the fashion world seemingly out of reach, I turned my attention to designing a gown that would give patients back some dignity and remove those fiddly fastenings.

It was an excellent discussion and I enjoyed being able to speak about my own experiences and subsequent design of the hospital gown. You can see Sam modelling one of my gowns here (and me looking extremely happy to be there).




My radio show appearances didn't end there as on Thursday I was back on air on Radio Tamworth (listen from 9:10) with Big Breakfast presenters Simon Soude and Janine Edmunds. This time I could get comfortable as I was on air for around half an hour! During that time I managed to give more of my cancer story which really was a catalyst for the hospital gown design. I could press home the importance of patient led design and mention the valuable research I gained from the many patients I've spoken to about their hospital gown dilemmas. In particular, the Tamworth Well Being and Cancer Centre welcomed me in and the advice and support gained there was tremendous.




With both of my daughters in the nursing profession, they have taken a keen interest from day one. Yesterday my eldest, Josie who is a Sister in Emergency Department, joined the #DownWithTheGown Twitter conversation and things went crazy. Just one of her tweets sharing my design had already gained over 10,000 impressions last night. As a medical professional, Josie answered many of the more practical questions about my gown design which has prompted me to look at my website info again.


Next job will be to update my gown design information so questions can be directed straight to the site - Josie can't be my PA unfortunately. Also, better images need to be taken and probably a video clip of the gown in action. All of this while the phone, email and social media goes mad!


This design means more to me than words can say. The concept really was a life changing moment. The shame is I kept it low key for so long; cancer didn't just take my kidney, it took my confidence. Moving forward, I would love to see the Coverstory Gown become a success as I know it can change the way patients feel as well as how they are viewed, in hospital.]





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