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    Sunday, August 23, 2009


    According to the CDC, nearly 100,000 U.S. patients died in 2002 from infections contracted in hospitals. There has been no conclusive evidence linking infected cuffs to any of these deaths — studies have been done showing that bacteria like MRSA and C. difficile exist on sleeves, but there’s no proof that those germs actually get passed around that way. But backers of the change in dress code argue that as long as there’s the slightest potential of transmission, everything possible should be done to avoid it. One of the policy questions that AMA delegates considered at their annual conference is whether doctors should forgo their iconic white coats for something a little more casual — and a little less dangerous for patients. The measure would urge hospitals to adopt dress codes of “bare below the elbows,” to avoid carrying bacteria between patients via coat sleeves.

    The British National Health System has already adopted a policy, banning ties, long sleeves, jewelry and white coats. Scotland went so far as to establish a uniform dress code that includes a short-sleeve requirement.

    While many U.S. docs already follow these rules, especially those in intensive-care units, some still prefer the professionalism the white coat implies. One irony, is that the spanking white coat was borrowed from lab scientists and introduced in hospitals in the 19th century in part to help prevent the spread of contamination.

    Please remember, as with all our articles we provide information, not medical advice.
    For any treatment of your own medical condition you must visit your local doctor, with or without our article[s]. These articles are not to be taken as individual medical advice.

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