Where's your stethoscope?

Nowadays, the new, hot thing is to wear your stethoscope on a belt clip. The ER folks are in love with this, because they typically don't wear lab coats, and the stethoscope can irritate the neck. Moreover, getting that weight off your neck is very relaxing.

What's interesting is that how a doctor carries a stethoscope can say a lot. The way you wear a stethoscope speaks volumes about when you trained. Here are some observations that I have made.

You carry your stethoscope in a doctor's bag: you remember when penicillin was first mass produced. When someone talks about Osler, your reply is, "Osler was an ass." Your day is done and you are likely dead now.

You wear your stethoscope like a tie (your neck between the ear pieces): You speak of the 'good old days' of fee for service, and bemoan Medicare, as you remember the days when it did not exist. The words, "Evidence Based Medicine" make you want to vomit. Still, you try to impart wisdom to the younger generation of physicians who don't know any better. You reminisce of the days when everyone had traditional indemnity insurance, patients did as they were told, and no one thought medical paternalism was bad.

You wear your stethoscope around your neck: You are a new breed of doctor who trained in the HMO/PPO era. This style is the current norm these days. It is a strain on the neck and if your stethoscope is not long enough, it's quite annoying. However, you comfort yourself with the knowledge that medicine is now guided by science and best evidence, and you wear your stethoscope more for decoration, since you have never heard a murmur in your life, and wouldn't know one if it bit you in the ass.

You use a belt clip or keep your stethoscope in a coat pocket: You are trying to be on the cutting edge, the avant garde of stethoscope fashion. But no one is impressed. And everyone secretly laughs at you when you get your scope caught in the arm of a chair or on a door knob.

Of course, I'm joking around, but really, the generation gaps are there. I think it would be really interesting if people started carrying scopes differently. I am all for keeping it in the pocket. Truth be told, our physical diagnostic skills have gone to the dogs, and I no longer see that the stethoscope deserves a place of prominence around the neck.

And by the way, I ruthlessly stole all these pictures with Google searches. Sorry. However, while googling, I did discover there is a whole world of stethoscope fetishes. Apparently, there are some very creative uses for stethoscopes.


valleygirl said...

Came across this blog. Good stuff! I think I'm going to be a regular reader.

Anonymous said...

Ha...ha...This is such a hilarious article..but on a serious note your observation is quite accurate! A really good article I accidently stumbled on! :)