AMA on phasing out (long sleeved) white coats

From the Wall Street Journal Health Blog:

May we have a moment of silence for the passing of the white coat long worn by doctors.

As we noted last week, AMA delegates holding their annual meeting were slated to vote on a recommendation that hospitals ban white coats in a bid to help protect patients from infection.

Well, the votes are in and the ban was approved. Delegates said they agreed that the risk of cuffs spreading infection between hospital patients isn’t worth the symbolism of the white coat.

The language of the resolution is vague on the particulars of what docs should wear; The AMA said only that it advocates “the adoption of hospital guidelines for dress codes that minimize transmission of nosocomial infections, particularly in critical and intensive care units.” That’s a step some hospitals have already taken.

But Peter Ragusa, a student involved in drafting the proposal, said the resolution’s intent was to do away with coats, long sleeves and ties for medical staff coming into contact with patients.

Now, backers just have to get hospitals to go along with it. “The next step,” Ragusa said, “is working with the American Hospital Association and various hospital groups around the country to implement the policy.”

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