My White Coat Ritual Poster


Gregory L. Henry, MD, FACEP

James Mills MD Memorial Lecture
American College of Emergency Physicians
1998 Scientific Assembly
San Diego, California

Every time I put on the [white] coat, I stop for two minutes. I stop for two minutes and remember Galen and Hippocrates. I pick up the coat: "to whatever house I shall enter, it shall be for the benefit of the sick." At that moment I am Doctor of Medicine; I carry with me a 2500 year tradition, and shame on me if I do not carry it out with dignity for the next eight hours. My problems are not the patient's problems. For that period of time, I am the agent and servant of the patient - I am proud to be the servant of the sick. I put on that coat and I'm a better person. All my petty prejudices should disappear when the coat goes on. That's what the coat is all about.


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