Why do doctors wear white overcoats?



Tue, 12 Apr 2022 - 01:49 GMT


Tue, 12 Apr 2022 - 01:49 GMT

Doctor wearing a white overcoat - social media

Doctor wearing a white overcoat - social media

CAIRO – 12 April 2022: Many do not know that white was not always the color of choice for the doctors' overcoat, and that black was actually once considered the right color for those who show seriousness and diligence, values that people considered at the time to be represented by a black overcoat.





Black was the most logical color for doctors' overcoats for symbolic and practical reasons, until they realized that science disagreed with this view.





The Spanish newspaper "El Confidencial" said that the color white was not always the norm in the medical profession, however, this color was officially adopted for symbolic and practical reasons.





Today, when we think of doctors, the first thing that comes to our mind is someone wearing a white overcoat. It represents the distinctive uniform of health care workers in general, and it is impossible to imagine a person practicing this profession without wearing a white overcoat.





Some old films that take place at the beginning of the 20th century show doctors dressed in elegant black uniforms. Scientists and researchers also wore black at that time, as the color was adopted in scientific circles and among intellectuals, as a kind of collective tradition or a way to distinguish this segment of people from others.





Besides this symbolism of black, which is associated with seriousness and intelligence, it was considered a better way to hide stains and dirt. The idea of using dark colors instead of light colors in order to hide stains was widely popular before things changed when people understood the importance of keeping medical practice places clean, in order to avoid the spread of bacteria and infectious diseases.





Just as black was considered in the late 19th century and at the beginning of the 20th century a suitable color for this profession, white became officially approved because people moved from the stage of thinking about hiding stains to the stage of seeking to discover these stains and dispose of them as soon as possible to maintain hygiene and sterilization. As such, the color white has become synonymous with cleanliness. Today it is used in hospitals as a unified color for walls, mattresses, covers and clothes.





In an article published in 2007 in the Journal of Ethics of the American Medical Association, Dr. Mark Hokberg said that white symbolizes not only cleanliness and order, but also honesty and transparency. Little by little, the white overcoats, even on cinema screens and in public life, became a symbol of truth and moral commitment.






Unfortunately, for some people the white color has become associated with a phobia of diseases and hospitals.





Today, psychology research has proven that some people suffer from high blood pressure and disorders in the body when they enter the hospital and sit in front of a doctor. This is called the White Jacket Syndrome.





Doctors have become aware of this problem, so they sometimes remove the white overcoat to calm the patient.





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