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On Being a Doctor |

The Magic White Coat

Richard G. Druss, MD
[+] Article and Author Information

Columbia P&S; New York, NY 10128 Requests for Reprints: Richard G. Druss, MD, Columbia P&S, 180 East End Avenue, New York, NY 10128.


Copyright ©2004 by the American College of Physicians


Ann Intern Med. 1998;129(9):743. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-129-9-199811010-00014
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The wintry wind blows cold off the Hudson River at 168th and Broadway. Yet the medical students I see each morning at 8:00, scurrying from one building to the next at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, are without benefit of coat, hat, and gloves; they wear just their white coats. They are young and perhaps don't feel the weather so sharply. They might say that they can't be bothered by bulky clothes as they attend to their many patients. They might also say the tunnels that connect the disparate hospitals of the medical center add unrecoverable minutes to their already hectic schedules. But the young women and men seem to derive special warmth from their short white coats. Is it the grace of a uniform, like that of a freshly minted second-lieutenant, that fills them with such pride that they can brave the weather?

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