What should doctors wear? Inspired by last month’s London fashion week, we have decided to make March our medical dress issue. I am surprised to see that the white coat is not yet extinct. Because “doctors don’t wear white coats anymore” we have a strict rule at the BMJ not to use pictures of doctors in them. Indeed, in the United Kingdom, the white coat, once the symbol of cleanliness and modernity, is now seen as a vehicle for infection, and a dated one at that. However, it seems that this is a very British idea. We asked students around the world what they wear. All but the British describe the huge importance of the white coat.
In Burma (Myanmar) the white coat is a “life long companion.” In Nigeria it “can hide a multitude of sins—last night’s party top with official looking trousers.” In the United States the white