Whittington patient given a pillowcase instead of gown

A patient made to strip for an X-ray was told the hospital had no gowns – and was then handed a pillow case to cover up after he complained.

Craig Matthews was told to undress to his boxer shorts for an X-ray on his back at the Whittington Hospital in Magdala Avenue, Archway, last Tuesday, October 18.

The 45-year-old, a journalist who lives in Highbury, expected to be given a gown – as is standard practice – but was shocked when the radiographer said they never used them and did not have any.

He said: “The radiographer was very flippant, but I’ve had about 10 X-rays all over the world and I have always been given a gown. Only four months ago I was given one at University College Hospital in Euston.”

One of the radiographers eventually went in search of something for him to wear and returned with a pillow case, seemingly to wrap around his waist.

“I was offered a makeshift gown from a pillow case and a pullover,” he said. “The pillow case was to cover my boxer shorts area. This is about the dignity of patients – it’s inappropriate and unprofessional.”

“Of course I’m not going to wear a pillow case, so I had to do it in my boxers.

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He added: “This is about the dignity of patients – it’s inappropriate and unprofessional. It’s a lot easier for a guy to take their kit off, but what if it was a young girl or a or young boy, or if someone was not wearing any underwear? They said that happens sometimes.”

Mr Matthews says the radiographer gave some explanation about a lack of budget – even though hospital gowns can be bought for as little as �4 online. He was later told by the X-ray manager that he should have been given a gown.

The hospital’s own policy on privacy and dignity states: “It must be ensured that hospital gowns and pyjamas are worn correctly”.

A spokeswoman for Whittington Health, which runs the hospital, said: “Whittington Health is very sorry that Mr Matthews’ privacy and dignity were compromised when he came for an X-ray.”

Warren Town, director of industrial relations at the Society of Radiographers, said: “We expect members to respect the dignity and wishes of patients.”