The medical device world has been advancing at an unprecedented rate, particularly with the relatively recent advent of batteries and microchips, but there are still classic tools in a physician’s possession that have endured the technological revolution and remain off the electrical grid. Most might think of manual stethoscopes or perhaps reflex hammers as the non-electric mainstays in a physician’s armamentarium, but today I will feature the finest traditional leather product for healthcare providers: the doctor’s handbag. While the days of house calls and rural doctors that practiced as jack-of-all trade practitioners has nearly faded away, the physician’s bag is coming back into favor due to the ever-expanding variety of tools that physicians are using today.
For today’s article I reviewed The Donnini leather doctor’s bag, manufactured by Maxwell Scott. Maxwell Scott is a family-run business based in England that creatively combines British design with Italian craftsmanship. Their bags are handcrafted and use high quality Italian leather. Maxwell Scott launched their medical bags due to popular demand, and insists their lifetime guaranteed products improve with every use.
I got to first use this bag in the field accompanying a doctor who still conducts house calls in rural Pennsylvania Amish communities. The bag provided ample space for an ophthalmoscope, blood pressure cuff, glucometer, physical exam tools, lab kits for drawing blood, wound care items, and a variety of basic medications. I was even able to fit some notebooks and basic reference materials in there too.
The large Donnini bag features a lower compartment that zips open. This section was great to store materials that were not needed as often, but that had to stay clean and organized throughout the bag’s rough journeys across town. The bag buckle can be locked, which did not seem terribly practical, but presumably it can dissuade curious hands from accessing tools when the bag is not in your sight. Overall, the bag passed the field test: relatively light weight, very spacious, comfortable handle, and practical arrangement of compartments. It certainly carries a traditional touch to accompany the white coat.
Next I used the bag in the hospital. I found that the practicality of the bag varied largely, depending on the medical specialist using the bag. Neurologists were huge fans! They consistently have too many tools to carry around. For example, surgeons would not use a bag on their way to the operating room, but could use it at their outpatient practices. A plastic surgery attending let me know that she uses a leather bag to carry the equipment she uses after her surgeries to examine, neurologically evaluate, and photograph her patients. Family medicine and internists are in the middle. I found that most physicians could often use a reliable leather doctor’s bag to carry equipment back and forth between practices and from home, a far better solution than jamming a few items into bulging white coat pockets.
In conclusion, The Donnini leather doctor’s bag was not only surprisingly elegant, but also practical. Indeed, the cost might inhibit some readers from considering this as their next medical equipment purchase, but if you were to have a doctor’s bag that you could pass down to the next generation of healthcare provider in the family, this would be the one.
Are you thinking of gifting a doctor’s bag to a physician and feeling ambitious? You can do your best to outfit the bag with proper medical supplies by referencing this article from The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (as much as you can legally acquire that is).