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Doctors Apron

May 21, 2018

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Unfolding of history and current trends. The first thing that comes to our imagination when we think about a doctor is a knee length white apron.  In-fact over a period of time, it has become the most important symbol of medical profession.

This garment was not always a part of doctor’s profession in the history. In-fact it was only in the latter half of the 19th century that the Apron was formally accepted as a Doctors Attire. It was formally done so by Dr. George Armstrong in Canada. Earlier also there were reports that even in 17th century doctors were using the white coat in France as long robe. But it was not accepted officially. Let’s step back a bit to identify where did this concept come from.  Earlier the scientists used to wear an apron to protect themselves from contaminants.

The doctor’s community also accepted that there was a need to protect themselves from the contaminants. More so, white color has always been a symbol of purity, like in saints and deities and hence the color of the apron turned out to be white. Doctors feel that the apron is useful to protect them, to let them be easily identified by the patients, nurses and other peer doctors, for professional status, to be handy in holding stuff in deep pockets. However some professionals like pediatricians and psychiatrists desist using aprons as they feel it creates a barrier between them and their clients. However latest research is voicing that using aprons can be risky for the patients as most of the aprons are used for days together without washing or even if washed, may not be sterilized every time.

This can lead to spread of infections among the patients. In-fact American Medical Association had gone on to officially request the doctors to forgo the use of aprons for the safety of the patients. It would be interesting to know, what would be the opinion of the doctors on this aspect.

Dr. Srikanth Reddy
MD (Psychiatry)

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