What’s in my white coat?

Georgetown neurologist Carlo Tornatore (MS’82, M’86, R’90) carries seven essential items in his white coat pockets, in addition to a little lint, he admits. And once in a while, he even makes use of his black bag, a wellworn treasure trove filled with the tangible objects of neurological care.

He purchased the bag during his second year of medical school. It was required equipment in those days.

“When I go to see patients in the neurocritical care unit, I use the bag since it has other tools that I can’t carry in my pockets,” he says. “I also use it when I make the occasional house visit.”

Legendary Georgetown faculty taught the value—and the art—of a good physical exam.

“Dr. Harvey and Dr. Knowlan were both my mentors as a medical student 34 years ago,” recalls Tornatore. “They impressed upon me the beauty of the physical exam and redicted that a time might come when technology might supersede the physical exam. They were not Luddites who feared advancement, but rather were prescient in recognizing that it would lead to the loss of the laying- on of hands, an art form in itself which has unquestionable importance.”

“This was one of the reasons I chose neurology, recognizing that the time spent talking to and examining a patient was therapeutic in its own right. Technology has moved my discipline forward by leaps and bounds, for which I am extremely grateful. However, the real tools of my trade are in my white coat and my black bag.” 

tools of the trade

Tools of the trade:

  • stethoscope
  • tuning fork
  • reflex hammer
  • reading glasses
  • business cards
  • ball point pen
  • smartphone displaying Ishihara plates

Have a story to share about what you carry in your white coat? Contact us at georgetownmedicinemagazine@georgetown.edu