Why Do Doctors In The UK Not Wear (White) Coats Like Doctors In Most Countries do?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Dr.Scorpiowoman, Nov 10, 2018.

  1. Dr.Scorpiowoman

    Dr.Scorpiowoman Golden Member

    May 23, 2016
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    This question was originally posted on Quora.com and was answered by David Crawford, former British Army Infantry Officer (1974-1994)


    Do you know how the custom of doctors wearing white coats originated or why?

    If you did you would not be asking this question.

    Introduced in the middle of the 19th century, it had one major function. Doctors were still widely mistrusted and the coats presented an image of professionalism and respectablity. Subordinate to this were the discoveries by pioneers like Joseph Lister, whose methods drastically reduced wound infections and gangrene. It was realised that the normal street clothes worn by doctors were breeding grounds for infection and sources of contamination and its spread. Hey presto! The clean boiled white coat became the mandatory standard. Yes, from the UK.

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    Fast forward to 2007 and the rapid spread of super bugs in hospitals. The NHS identified the cuffs of the familiar doctors' white coats as a major cause of the germs' spread and so banned them. Now a doctor or medical professional examining or treating a patient must be bare below the elbows and must wash with antibacterials above the elbows between each patient or procedure and … surprise, surprise, the incidence of infection spread has fallen drastically. Yes, from the UK.

    The UK has always been at the forefront of medicine, so if you see UK doctors doing something that they don’t do at home, the chances are it is the new, proven-to-be-correct way to do it.


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