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Posted on June 17, 2009 at 8:46 AM
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They never were fashion-forward, but the AMA had a much better reason to vote out the traditional doctor’s white coat this week. The long sleeves have been proven to spread infection when brushing across sick patients for hours at a time.

The key: getting hospitals and notoriously stubborn doctors stuck in their routines and the imagined power of the white coat to get over themselves and slough off the old rag in favor of other less infectious garb.

That was, in fact, the entire point. The resolution was not just to do away with the iconic coat, but also to get rid of “long sleeves and ties for medical staff coming into contact with patients”, as the WSJ Health Blog said today. Germ-spreading doctor-wear be gone.

The likelihood of this is pretty slim, but doctors in Scotland have already taken the plunge, so why not here in the States? It does open up a whole new world for fashion designers to create good looking, non-infectious clothing for the hospital. I’m envisioning Project Runway: Hospital coming soon to television screens near you.

Summer Johnson, PhD

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