Thursday, June 17, 2010

My Portable Fomite

I wear a short white coat that I loathe. I have had it since my first day of medical school and have worn it nearly 6 days a week for the last calendar year. Sometimes I'm better at washing it than others. It has some ring around the collar, numerous ink stains in the breast pocket, and two pockets that are in the process of being torn off, and stained cuffs. It weighs between 6 and 7 pounds.
Breast pocket: 1 cracked cheap-o school logo pen.
1 stolen Bic pen.
pocket lint.
Maxwell's pocket guide.
2007 Tarascon's Pharmacopia
1 pen light.
2 ID badges in a semi-opaque holder.
1 monofilament in badge holder.

Left inner pocket:
2009 Sanford Guide to Antimicrobial therapy
Pocket Medicine 3rd edition.
2 old H&P pages with notes.

Left outer pocket:
1 Littman Cardio 3 stethoscope with freebie Army light attached in the likely event that the penlight craps out.

Right inner pocket:
1 FACTS card (little card that I have to get signed periodically during a rotation)
1 gestational age wheel
1 old tongue depressor still in wrapper
2 procedure cards (similar to FACTS card)
2 scholarly papers
4 old H&P's
1 bandaid in wrapper.

Right outer pocket:
study book du jour, in this case Case Files for OB-GYN
2 current H&P's
1 more scholarly paper
1 page of notes from lecture
Sometimes a reflex hammer and tuning forks, depending on how likely I think it is that I'll do a neuro exam (usually these stay safely in my bag or even more safely in my locker 7 miles from the hospital).

Sleeves: miscellaneous dirt, MRSA, VRE, cruddies.

This little gem is my friend for another year, after which I can swap it for a longer version. After I graduate I am going to dowse this one in kerosene and set it on fire, both for sanitataion and catharsis.


Mhana said...

What? NO! It shall join the family reliquary of symbolic and disgusting clothes! Included will be your moldy boy scout shirt which you vowed never to wash, the mission skirt I bought at a thrift store, wore every other day and never once cleaned and my mission shoes, with Maryland pebbles still embedded in the holy souls. And now your disgusting jacket. Maybe the ratty cardigan I wear to teach, write, read and vegetate will join the family of nearly animate disgusting tribal garments.

Natalie said...

I'm proud of you for not having food stains on it. Scottis always seems to have strange spots appear from time to time.

But I read an article a few months ago that debated getting rid of the white coats. It detailed a study the AMA conducted on the germs found on the jackets. Like you stated, they were crawling with mrsa and other very harmful germs. I have to say, they convinced me. Doctors go through great lengths to be as sterile as possible, and yet their coats are covered in the very germs they're trying to prevent. Very interesting stuff. We seem very attached to this symbol of medicine...

Maggie said...

Yeah, but if they don't wear coats wouldn't the germs be on their clothing? That's something I don't want layon on my bedroom floor after a long day. I'd rather have the MRSA hanging on the hook by the back door where nobody can get a hold of it.

Also, do you think your coat will make it another year?

Dan's mom said...

The AMA aticle didn't have any kind words for ties, either. They didn't offer any solution other than scrubs which every other patient-contact employee already wears. The good news for Spiff - if you stay in anesthesia, you'll mostly wear scrubs, supplied & laundered by the hospital.

At Dan's Dad's clinic, providers each have 2 coats, embroidered with the clinic logo, their names & title (MD, DO, PA) and their specailty. The coats worn each day are collected for the commercial laundry each evening & returned the following evening so there is a clean coat each day. A little labor intensive for the home laundress but at least you know some practices are working on this cleanliness issue.
PS During his residency, Dan's dad got kicked out of Taco Bell across the street form the Tucson VA when he & the other surigcal interns showed up in OR scurbs during a break in the surgery schedule. I'll leave the why to your imagination.