Friday, September 1, 2006

The doctor's bag

I have dim Brooklyn-childhood memories of housecalls from the doctor, Dr. Freeman (first name Charles, perhaps). Dr. Freeman's overcoat would go over a chair (these visits, as I remember them, took place in cold weather), and his doctor's bag would sit on the bed.

I wish I'd looked inside — I've wondered on occasion what "the doctor's bag" held (aside from the otoscope, stethoscope, and prescription pad that seemed to come out during every visit). The Internets have given me some answers.

The Doctor's Bag  A grim-looking photograph of a smallish bag and its contents. "Every museum dealing with medicine needs a doctor's bag for completeness. Insisting on electricity would just make the search more difficult." (Why that sentence about electricity? Because the page is from The Bakken, "A Library and Museum of Electricity in Life.")

Photographs of doctors' bags and their contents  From the Oregon Health & Science University Digital Resources Library

The Doctor’s Bag — What to put in it  Advice for British doctors on what to carry: "GPs working in remote parts of the Highlands of Scotland will obviously have very different requirements from those working in inner city Birmingham."

The Doctor's Bag  Dona Barnett writes about the contents of a bag owned by Joseph E. Osborne, a doctor/dentist in Rosman, North Carolina. The bag is now in Special Collections at the University of North Carolina's Ramsey Library. "Some of the contents are self-explanatory like the forceps. Intriguing as they are, occasionally hospitals even today have them in use. But the cyanide tablets? Why would a country doctor carry those alongside tongue depressors?"

My Black Bag  Joseph Friedman, MD, on carrying a traditional black bag: "I'm hoping that the bag outlives my career so I won't have to worry about choosing between an expensive leather bag and a cheap, efficient canvas one."

comments: 2

Rachel Leddy said...

On an unrelated note--

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Michael Leddy said...

Aw — thank you, RL!