Unwanted white coats

31 uses for a white coat

BMJ 2008; 336 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39489.654028.BE (Published 14 February 2008)
Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:346.4

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Displaying 1-5 out of 5 published

Hang in the hall, thread elastic through the cuffs and use the sleeves to store tennis balls.

Hang in the kitchen, thread elastic through the cuffs and use the sleeves to store onions.

Hang in the bedroom, thread elastic through the cuffs and use the sleeves to store socks.

Dye it brown and donate it to your local ironmonger.

Dye it brown and donate it to your local drama group for performances of the Two Ronnies "Four candles" sketch.

Dye it brown and donate it to your local cattle stockman. (Or just leave it white and allow it to naturally get brown.)

Dye it green and donate it to your local gardening shop.

Dye it green and donate it to your local organic veg shop.

Dye it red, orange or yellow and donate it to your local childrens' party clown.

Dye it purple and donate it to your local bishop. (Or, for selected areas only - your local archbishop.)

Tie-dye it and donate it to your local hippy commune.

Make it into Guy Fawkes (or whoever you like to burn on your bonfire.)

Donate it to your local cricket umpire.

Wear it for decorating the stairwell.

Wear it for messy play with the children.

Add it to your compost heap.

Wear another one for the day you have to turn your compost heap.

Cut it up to make roman style toilet paper. (Ever been to Housesteads on Hadrian's Wall)

Cut it up to make sanitary towels. (Well, you are a gynaecologist!)

Competing interests: None declared

Competing interests: None declared

Clare Cathcart, GP

Westfield Surgery, Leominster HR6 8HD

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18 February 2008

Is it just white coats that are objectionable? Why not just dye them all and continue wearing them as always.

The Postgraduate Medical Journal ran an article in 2004 estimating only 13% of doctors in one London hospital actually wore white coats. 70% of those doctors claimed they felt the coats were an infection risk, and 60% said they were uncomfortable to wear. I doubt that changing the colour of the coats would change the minds of those 87% who already don't wear white coats.

As a research scientist, I prefer to not wear white coats because of the discomfort, but will don some kind of protective clothing when I'm working with known hazards. Sadly, this means I'm breaking our institutions rules. I would love to see white coats banished from labs, as they function poorly as safety clothing and the long sleeves are a real hazard. Their only advantage is providing a place to keep you pens (with pocket protector and slide rule of course)

Competing interests: None declared

Competing interests: None declared

Allison L Miller, medical researcher

Christchurch School of Medicine, 8124

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17 February 2008

I am sure the cricket umpires would gratefully accept the donations of whitecoats. What about the prop department in film industry? Whitecoat for the doctor in a leading role with a romantic theme would be more authentic than a mobilephone-holding, jeans and sweatshirt wearing, dull looking junior doctors indistinguishable in the hospital wards from the visitors of the patients. Have the people forgotten Doctor Kildare?

Competing interests: None declared

Competing interests: None declared

Dr ANAND DESHPANDE, Physician

U.K. BL5 2QE

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15 February 2008

I would like to thank Nawar Al-Shabibi et al., for their kind offer of donating their recycled white coats to dentists (item 5 on the list).

Regrettably my colleagues and I will probably have to decline the offer - the long sleeves are a bit of problem.

Competing interests: None declared

Competing interests: None declared

David R Moles, Senior Clinical Lecturer in Health Services Research

UCL Eastman Dental Institute, WC1X 8LD

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Almost last on the list again!! Donation to the local laboratory at number 30?

I thought the majority of white coats were worn by bench scientists.

Send them off to academia where I'm sure they'll be used

I'll continue to wear a lab coat with pride (and a certain degree of fear that if I don't I'll be excluded from the lab by Health and Safety)

Yours etc. FDT

Competing interests: Desire to have a lab coat that fits

Competing interests: None declared

F David Tattersall, Research Scientist

Sandwich, Kent, CT13 9NJ

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