Other colours?

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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