The patients of the skeptical cardiologist have probably noted that over the last 10 years he has transitioned from wearing a tie to not wearing a tie and from always wearing a white coat to rarely wearing a white coat.
I wrote about this in 2015 in a previous post entitled “The Tie, The White Coat and The Fist Bump“:”
“My role models and mentors during my medical training taught me what I considered to be the proper appearance and demeanor of the professional physician.
The male doctor wore a dress shirt and a tie. The doctor wore a white coat over his/her regular clothes. The more senior the doctor was in the medical hierarchy the longer the white coat and the more impressive the words written on the coat.
Presumably, this professional appearance of the doctor increased the confidence that the patient had in the professionalism of the doctor.
Upon encountering a patient in the hospital room or office exam room, the doctor extends his right hand, greets the patient and smiles and shakes hands.
I wore a tie and a white coat and shook hands consistently during the first 20 years of my practice but gradually these markers of a good doctor have fallen under scrutiny.”
A major issue with all three of these, I pointed out , is transmission of bacteria and viruses.
Now Aaron Frakt at The Incidental Economist has summarized the concerns about the doctor’s white coat in particular in a great article originally published in the New York Times entitled Why Your Doctor’s White Coat Can Be a Threat to Your Health | The Incidental Economist.
It’s a good short read I highly recommend.
Don’t be surprised if the next time you see me I am sans tie and white coat and do not offer a handshake.