A white coat or laboratory coat (abbreviated lab coat) is a knee-length overcoat/
smockworn by professionals in the medical field or by those involved in laboratorywork to protect their street clothes. The garment is made from white or light-colored cotton, linen, or cotton polyesterblend, allowing it to be washed at high temperature and make it easy to see if it is clean. Similar coats are a symbol of learning in Argentina, where they are worn by students.
When used in the laboratory, they protect against accidental spills, e.g. acids. In this case they have to have long sleeves and be made of an absorbent material, such as cotton, so that the user can be protected from the chemical. Some lab coats have buttons at the end of the sleeves, to secure them around the wrist so that they do not hang into beakers of chemicals.
Like the word "
suit", the phrase "white coat" is sometimes used to denote the wearer, "i.e." the scientific personnel in a biotechnologyor chemical company.
White coats in medicine
White coats are sometimes seen as the distinctive dress of
physicians, who have worn them for over 100 years. [Jones VA, "The White Coat: Why not Follow Suit?" JAMA. 1999;281:478. [http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/full/281/5/478 Full Text] .] Recently, white coat ceremonies have become popular amongst those starting medical school.
The white coat was introduced to medicine in Canada by Dr. George Armstrong (1855–1933) who was a surgeon at the Montreal General Hospital and President of the Canadian Medical Association.Fact|date=June 2008
A recent study found that the majority of patients prefer their doctors to wear white coats, but the majority of doctors prefer other clothing, such as scrubs.cite news | url=http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/3706783.stm | title=Doctors 'should wear white coats' | publisher=BBC News | date=2004-05-13 | accessdate=2006-07-18] The study found that psychiatrists were among the least likely to wear white coats, perhaps in part due to the stereotyping that the pop culture phrase suggests. Some medical doctors view the coats as hot and uncomfortable, and many feel that they spread infection.
Some doctors in institutions such as the
Mayo Clinicare instructed to wear business attire, to convey professionalism, as the clinic dislikes the message that white coats represent to the patient. [ [http://hbswk.hbs.edu/pubitem.jhtml?id=3380&t=marketing Mayo Clinic article] ]
White coat hypertension
Some patients who have their blood pressure measured in a clinical setting have higher readings than they do when measured in a home setting. This is sometimes called "
white coat hypertension", in reference to the traditional white coats worn in a clinical setting, though the coats themselves may have nothing to do with the elevated readings. [cite journal | author=Pierdomenico S, Mezzetti A, Lapenna D, Guglielmi M, Mancini M, Salvatore L, Antidormi T, Costantini F, Cuccurullo F | title='White-coat' hypertension in patients with newly diagnosed hypertension: evaluation of prevalence by ambulatory monitoring and impact on cost of health care. | journal=Eur Heart J | volume=16 | issue=5 | pages=692–7 | year=1995 | pmid=7588903]
The term is also used as verbal shorthand for psychiatric orderlies or other personnel and may be used, in a usually jocular manner, to imply someone's
lunacy. In the 1966 song, " They're Coming to Take Me Away Ha-Haaa!", Napoleon XIVfictionalized the public's view of the symbolic relationship between such institutions and white coats in the following lyrics:
They're coming to take me away ho ho hee hee ha haaa! To the funny farm, Where life is beautiful all the time. And I'll be happy to see those nice young men In their clean white coats, And they're coming to take me away ha haaa!
White versus black
Until the mid 1920's, students who were examining cadavers would wear black lab coats to show respect for the dead. Black lab coats were used in early biomedical and microbiology laboratories because any dust (i.e. contamination) that settled on them was easily visible.
White coat ceremony
white coat ceremony(WCC) is a relatively new ritual that marks one's entrance into medical schooland, more recently, into a number of related health-related schools and professions. It originated in Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1993Huber SJ, "The white coat ceremony: a contemporary medical ritual." J Med Ethics 2003;29:364-366. [http://jme.bmjjournals.com/cgi/content/full/29/6/364 Full Text] .] and involves a formal "robing" or "cloaking" in white lab coats.
In industries and institutions related to biology, white and green coats are used. Typically, white coats are used in laboratory work.Fact|date=March 2007
Argentinawhite coats which resemble lab coats are worn by students and teachers of most public primary schools as a daily uniform.
Film – white coaters
Many American and Swedish pornographic films of the late 1960s and early 1970s were prefaced by a doctor who would give an introduction to the graphic content, dressed in a white coat. These films came to be called "white coaters". The educational pretext was intended to circumvent U.S. obscenity laws.
White coat hypertension
* [http://www.mja.com.au/public/issues/174_07_020401/mvdw/mvdw.html White coats and the medical profession]
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