White Coat Syndrome

December 20, 2017

White coat syndrome: "is a phenomenon in which patients exhibit a blood pressure level above the normal range, in a clinical setting, though they don't exhibit it in other settings."- good old Wikipedia.


Different patients perceive doctors very differently. It is interesting that this is often the case for different generations. The older generations often view the doctor as an authoritative, white-coated figure that you abide by what he/she says - this is the impression I get from talking to elderly patients in hospital and my grandparent's generation! Of course, this isn't confined to the older generation - young people can fall into this bracket of white coat syndrome too.


But why are the public scared of doctors? In answering this question, I tried to put myself in the shoes of patients, seeing things from their perspective. Is it because they're scared of the doctor, or scared of bad news? Humans tend to think of the worst-case scenario, which could explain some of the observed anxieties.


I thought it was interesting how the term 'white coat syndrome' is simply considering at the item of clothing worn by the doctor, not the doctor themselves - the white coat itself isn't doing anything to the patient, but it is a symbol of who that person is. This is what led me to do the drawing below - I considered drawing a doctor wearing a white coat, but I thought it was more symbolic to have the white coat alone, as if it is being worn, but without a body to wear it, because this may be what patients see: just the white coat.





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Manchester, UK


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