Wednesday, February 27, 2013


White coat
A white coat or laboratory coat (often abbreviated to lab coat) is a knee-length overcoat/smock worn by professionals in the medical field or by those involved in laboratory work. The coat protects their street clothes and also serves as a simple uniform. The garment is made from white or light-colored cotton, linen, or cotton polyester blend, allowing it to be washed at high temperature and make it easy to see if it is clean. Similar coats are a symbol of learning in Argentina, where they are worn by students. In Tunisia and mozambique, teachers wear white coats to protect their street clothes from chalk.

When used in the laboratory, they protect against accidental spills, e.g. acids. In this case they usually have long sleeves and are made of an absorbent material, such as cotton, so that the user can be protected from the chemical. Some lab coats have buttons at the end of the sleeves, to secure them around the wrist so that they do not hang into beakers of chemicals. Short-sleeved lab coats also exist where protection from substances such as acid is not necessary, and are favoured by certain scientists, such as microbiologists, avoiding the problem of hanging sleeves altogether, combined with the ease of washing the forearms (an important consideration in microbiology).

Like the word "suit", the phrase "white coat" is sometimes used to denote the wearer, 
ex.' the scientific personnel in a biotechnology or chemical company.

In medicine
White coats are sometimes seen as the distinctive dress of physicians, who have worn them for over 100 years. In the nineteenth century, respect for the certainty of science was in stark contrast to the quackery and mysticism of nineteenth century medicine. To emphasize the transition to the more scientific approach to modern medicine, physicians sought to represent themselves as scientists, and began to wear the most recognizable symbol of the scientist, the white laboratory coat.

Recently, white coat ceremonies have become popular amongst those starting medical school.

The modern white coat was introduced to medicine in the late 1800s as a symbol of cleanliness.

A recent study conducted in the United Kingdom found that the majority of patients prefer their doctors to wear white coats, but the majority of doctors prefer other clothing, such as scrubs. The study found that psychiatrists were among the least likely to wear white coats. Some medical doctors view the coats as hot and uncomfortable, and many feel that they spread infection.
Some doctors in institutions such as the Mayo Clinic are instructed to wear business attire, to convey professionalism, as the clinic dislikes the message that white coats represent to the patient.

White coat hypertension
Some patients who have their blood pressure measured in a clinical setting have higher readings than they do when measured in a home setting. This is apparently a result of patients feeling more relaxed when they are at home. The phenomenon is sometimes called "white coat hypertension," in reference to the traditional white coats worn in a clinical setting, though the coats themselves may have nothing to do with the elevated readings.
In psychiatry
The term is also used as verbal shorthand for psychiatric orderlies or other personnel and may be used, in a usually jocular manner, to imply someone's lunacy. In the 1966 song, They're Coming to Take Me Away Ha-Haaa!, Napoleon XIV fictionalized the public's view of the symbolic relationship between such institutions and white coats in the following lyrics:
They're coming to take me away ho ho hee hee ha haaa!
 To the funny farm,
 Where life is beautiful all the time.
 And I'll be happy to see those nice young men
 In their clean white coats,
 And they're coming to take me away ha haaa!

Napoleon XIV
Napoleon XIV was the pseudonym of American songwriter and record producer Jerry Samuels (born 1938, New York), who achieved one-hit wonder status with the Top 5 hit novelty song "They're Coming to Take Me Away Ha-Haaa!" in 1966.

Music video made by some Dutch guys in 1983.

In 1966, Samuels concocted "They're Coming to Take Me Away Ha-Haaa!". The public found out the true identity when Cousin Brucie of WABC in New York outed him.

Napoleon XIV continued to release music after the success of his one hit, including a Warner Bros. album of the same name in 1966 (reissued by Rhino in 1985), most of which continued with the mental illness theme (for example: "Bats In My Belfry"; and "Split Level Head," which features different vocal parts in each stereo speaker). While he did not achieve any further mainstream success, based upon the relatively recent cover versions of his hit song, Napoleon XIV has remained a cult favorite to this day.

Samuels still writes songs and presently runs a business that books entertainment primarily for retirement homes.

Are Lab Coats a Sex Symbol?
When did wearing a lab coat make someone a sex symbol? Apparently, in the past twenty years things have changed. Thanks mostly in part to TV shows the idea of doctors as sex symbols has gained much traction. It probably started with General Hospital. For those of you who have never watched the show, General Hospital is a long running ABC soap opera where a bunch of beautiful people work in a hospital. Typical soap opera stuff occurs in droves: lots of sexy doctors with their shirts off, lots of casual hookups, etc.
The continuing popularity of soaps like General Hospital led to an explosion in prime time hospital dramas in the 1990s. Famously two hospital dramas premiered in the 1994-95 season. Chicago Hope and ER both featured sexy doctors in dramatic situations. It made sex symbols out of people like George Clooney and Noah Wyle and essentially set the stage for what was to come for doctors in prime time for decades to come. Of course, Chicago Hope only lasted a few season while ER lasted for 15 years and become one of the most beloved dramas in television history.
While ER might have kick started the "sexy" doctor genre, it was ABC's Grey's Anatomy which came to symbolize just how "sexy" a doctor in a lab coat could be. It was a show that featured just as many in hospital hookups as medical cases. They actors were so sexy, in fact, that they were given sexy nicknames like "McDreamy and "McSteamy". The female doctors were not hacks either. Katherine Heigl became a big star thanks to the show as she seems to spend as much time in tight clothing as she does in doctor's gear.

Of course Grey's Anatomy has led to a slew of copy cats on television. Now each network has their Grey's knockoff featuring sexy doctors hooking up and working on cool cases in random city hospitals. I don't really watch any of them but I know the stars thanks to the buzz. Are they sexy? Sure. Is it an accurate portrayal of doctors? Not really. Do real doctors mind being thought at as sex symbols? I'm sure they don't.
Okay, maybe some. It depends of their ego.

thanks to: Wikipedia and Kimberly Green

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