Dear Medical People,

While I take out my precious time to congratulate you on your feat; gaining admission to study the ‘Almighty’ medicine as well as keeping your head high and weathering the storms of the medical school, I still find it pertinent to give you a piece of my heart.

It burdens my heart each time I walk around the cities harbouring our different medical schools in Nigeria, and I see our dearly esteemed medical students and young practitioners parading the streets impeccably donned on their lab coats with red and blue biro attached. It speaks so unethical and unprofessional of you guys, and provokes the gods of medical sciences.

The name alone has summarised the usage; lab coat. The apparel is designed for exclusive use inside the laboratory, or ward (for those already on clinical postings and ward round exercises). The essence is to guard your personal wears from chemicals, reagents, test samples, patient’s blood and urine samples, etc.

While in the lab, the coat is contaminated with these things, rendering it unhealthy for you to take that same coat out of the lab, worse having it on while interacting with people of the world; food sellers, family and friends, acquaintances and others. Stop being an agent of germs and disease dispersal.

Chances are that you might also get the lab coat contaminated by different disease vectors while moving around the streets. At the end of the day you still take it back to the laboratory and ward, recycling diseases and perpetuating the stay of your patients in the hospital.

Someone told me that you guys do it out of swag and for the prestige attached to ‘being a medical student’. I beg to disagree. You guys should know more than that; the Latin adage that ‘the hood does not make a monk’ should dissuade you from thinking as such. The coat does not make a doctor.

While inside the lab and your respective wards, protect yourself with the lab coat. However, be kind enough to protect us as well by not coming out of the lab with that coat.

Yours truly in the service of humanity,
Ubaka Chijioke.



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