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Table of Contents
Year : 2015  |  Volume : 16  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 42  

The Physician's Little Black Bag

Heart Hospital, HMC, Doha, Qatar

Date of Web Publication11-Mar-2015

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1995-705X.153004

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How to cite this article:
Hajar R. The Physician's Little Black Bag. Heart Views 2015;16:42

How to cite this URL:
Hajar R. The Physician's Little Black Bag. Heart Views [serial online] 2015 [cited 2023 Oct 3];16:42. Available from: https://www.heartviews.org/text.asp?2015/16/1/42/153004

The physician's little black bag has long been a common symbol of the medical profession. Ancient Mesopotamian texts indicate that the physician carried also a bag of herbs (in addition to a libation jar and censer). [1] The first detailed description of a medical bag, with guidelines for its contents (equipments and drugs) appears in Hippocrates' writings (460-370 BC). [2]

In the last few decades however, most doctor's visits are made in an office or hospital setting so that few doctors use a black bag. But technology has added a new dimension to the traditional black bag - it has modified its contents made it more powerful.

Basic drugs in the black bag have changed little in the last few decades but miniaturization of diagnostic equipment has made it possible to carry around various paraphernalia depending on the physician's specialty. In addition to the old standards such as a stethoscope, blood pressure cuffs, gauze and tape, digital thermometer, traditional ophthalmosope, and reflex hammer, physicians now throw in a laptop to which can be attached equipment for monitoring everything from heart to lung function, and to keep medical records. Other essentials are an iPad and iPhone to access x-rays and lab reports, and conduct internet searches for evidence-based guidelines. I might add also that a hand-held or pocket ultrasound machine is mandatory.

And one very important item not to forget is . . . CHARGER!

As technology develops and evolves, so too will the physician's black bag.

   References Top

Oates, J. Babylon. London: Thames and Hudson, 1986:183.  Back to cited text no. 1
Tsoukalas G, Kousoulis A. et al. The earliest mention of a black bag. Scand J Prim Health Care. 2011; 29:196-7.  Back to cited text no. 2


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