February 7, 2023

My invention: MedGown

By John Guy LaPlante

This happened some 75 years ago.

I had gotten sick and my doctor got me admitted to our local hospital in Middletown, Connecticut.

In my hospital room, a nurse had come in. She told me to take off my clothes and then, gathering up my clothes, she had handed me a johnny to wear as a patient.

It was a completely routine happening. Every patient got a johnny.

I had been hospitalized over the years and when I checked in again, I was always handed a johnny to wear.

Every patient got a johnny to wear. Johnnies were the adult garment for any patient. Merriam-Webster had even put the word in its famous dictionary.

In this video, I demonstrate the original johnny.

Definition:  “johnny:  a loose-fitting gown opening in the back that is given to patients to wear during their hospital stay.”

One morning my doctor walked in to check me. I’ll call him Dr. Malcolm.

The hospital was a good hospital. It made sure that physicians and surgeons had everything they needed to do a good job helping their patients.

“Yes, it’s all very, very impressive, this high-tech stuff,” I said to him, pointing to an instrument he was using on me.

“But there is still one thing, Doctor, that is still old fashioned. Very old-fashioned, Doctor!”

He stared at me. He was wondering if he had heard right. “And what’s that?”

“It’s this,” I said, and pointed to the johnny I was wearing. The johnny that I had been told to change into when I got admitted. “Doctor,” I said, “this johnny hasn’t changed one bit in the numerous times I’ve been hospitalized.

“Oh, maybe the cloth is better. But it’s really the same, old Johnny. Take my word for it, please!”

Well, way back when I was was growing up and was just 20 or 21, I was given a johnny to put on.

I’ve had to go to hospitals many times over the years. Same old johnny every time. Oh, maybe the cloth is better now.

Dr. Malcolm was all ears.

“I did some serious thinking. Designed a new johnny. Had a seamstress make one, then another, then a third, each better. And finally came up with my current johnny, which I must tell you still closes at the back.

In this video, I demonstrate my invention, the MedGown.

“That’s the essential feature that has made the johnny so popular these many years.

“For one thing, you no longer have to walk around with one hand in back to keep your fanny covered!

Here are some of the other features I developed one by one.

“Johnnies did not have a collar. I included one. It provided a touch of fashion. Especially when you might be sash-shaying down the hall.

And you could turn it up, which provided a bit of warmth in a low-temperature patient bedroom.

I made the sleeves fuller. Nurses and doctors who came in to take a blood pressure reading, say, or do something else on the upper arm sometimes had to take the johnny off the patient in order to do that. No longer necessary.

And I made the sleeves longer, extending some four inches or so below the elbow. So many patients have bruises that they consider embarrassing. No more!

And hospitals could order them in several nice colors. Which patients would like. Especially when family or friends stopped by to visit.

And it also made my johnny warmer. Nobody complained about that, either.

In actual fact, my design’s important innovations became such a dramatic breakthrough that I applied to the U.S. Department of Patents and Trademarks to register the name I had given it. Which is MedGown.

Here, by the way, is proof of my getting it. Trademarked.Yes, spelled just like that.

Patient gowns / Medical gowns
owned by LaPlante John Guy
Trademark No. 87926116


I spent many months in my spare time promoting it.

To hospitals, doctors, and medical people, professionals. Manufacturers and sellers of medical equipment.

To individuals who wanted one of their own for the next time they might have to be a patient.

I even have the MedGown that I used to demonstrate it. I have been congratulated by Dr. Malcolm. But no buyers.

Very humbling.

Far better for patients.

Far better for doctors and nurses also.

Dr. Malcolm had been listening intently. Maybe he thought the old design was just fine. Maybe so.

Truth is, health professionals who have seen it have complimented me. Overdue!


  1. HI John, I think your MedGown is awesome! It’s about time they update those nasty gowns. They would save on laundry if they used yours because most people ask for a 2nd one when they have to walk around so they can put it on from the back side over their other one. Think about the water they would save with less laundry too! I also enjoyed your videos, it was great to see you after so many years. You are a man of many talents!

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