A Question for the Reader: White Coats

One of the easiest Halloween costumes is to put on a white lab coat. You would be instantly recognizable as a doctor.

I am exploring the White Coat further. What does it mean to you as a patient or a physician? What do you think of doctors who choose to wear them or not to wear them? Is it a power trip? Does it give you, as a patient, a sense of confidence in that physician? Would a different color be preferable?

My question is being posed on Twitter (#whitecoats) and on Facebook. Let me know your thoughts there or comment on this blog post.

I promise that a summary post will come of this….

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About Linda Pourmassina, MD

Internal Medicine physician.
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3 Responses to A Question for the Reader: White Coats

  1. eric says:

    Even though it’s not been around for hundreds of years, it has become a traditional and cultural portal. Sort of like how people feel comfortable confessing their sins to priests in confession booths. They allow the person to disengage from their environment and into a role where they are culturally expected (and thus comforted) to reveal their deepest darkest secrets. Taking away the priest and putting in a stranger or taking away the confession booth breaks this cultural portal.

    Similarly as we don’t tend to like to openly talk about our medical problems in our day to day social environment, we need the white coat to make us think that you’re not human. That for all we know you are some alien beamed down from above to listen and correct whatever is physiologically wrong with us. Because if we don’t have that impression, then we feel like we’re doing what we’re essentially doing – which is talking to a stranger about our personal medical problems. Which is just weird.

    • Ah! Too good. How will I ever be able to follow that?

      In all seriousness, however, this is quite wonderfully written and was likely immensely inspiring to the young physicians-to-be. It inspired me, even as I read it after 13 years of wearing one.

      You captured the essence of the White Coat quite well, Doctor.

      Thank you so much for sharing.

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