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man in white coat
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White gowns have been a symbol of medicine and healthcare for as long as most people can remember. However, few people know the history behind this iconic garment. When did white gowns appear in medicine? The answer may surprise you.

The use of white gowns in medicine can be traced back to the 19th century. Prior to this time, physicians wore black attire, which was seen as a symbol of professionalism and authority. However, during the 1800s, there was a shift in medical philosophy that emphasized cleanliness and hygiene in the hospital setting. This led to the adoption of the white coat as a symbol of medical purity.

One of the pioneers of the white coat movement was Dr. René Laennec, a French physician who invented the stethoscope in 1816. Laennec believed that cleanliness was essential to good health and hygiene in the hospital environment. He encouraged his colleagues to wear white coats as a way of symbolizing their commitment to cleanliness and hygiene. The white coat also made it easier to spot any dirt or stains, which could be a potential source of infection.