Hindustan Times (Jalandhar)

‘Doctors should stop wearing white coats’

- Vanita Srivastava vanita.shrivastav­a@hindustant­imes.com

NEW DELHI: Doctors and medical students in India should stop wearing white coats as they harbour infection, a doctor has argued in medical journal The BMJ. Edmond Fernandes, a postgradua­te from Yenepoya Medical College in Mangalore, said evidence shows that long sleeved coats spread infection, leading to harm that could be avoided.

BMJ is a health care knowledge provider that aims to advance health care worldwide by sharing knowledge and expertise to improve experience­s, outcomes and value.

White coats harbour potential contaminan­ts and contribute considerab­ly to the burden of disease acquired in hospitals by spreading the infection. A microbiolo­gical analysis of swabs taken from the pockets and cuffs of doctors’ white coats in Nigeria showed that 91.3% of the coats were contami- nated with bacteria.

Fernandes also said that in India, changing areas in hospitals are rare because of space constraint­s, so white coats are commonly worn by students coming from college and outside the hospital. They are also often left on chairs, tables, and in corridors.

Some junior doctors are also seen wearing these coats in shopping malls and cinema halls too, and then they enter sterile zones in the hospital in the same attire, he added.

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