Hospital Scrubs on the Subway?


Scrubs belong in the operating room, but what about the subway? (Marko Georgiev for The New York Times)

Should hospital scrubs be worn in public places?


That’s one of the questions asked by my Well column this week, which looks at the role clothing may play in the spread of germs by health workers. The issue of scrubs on the subway and other public places has been raised often by readers of the Well blog.

“I cringe every time I see a medical professional on the subway in their scrubs, which is a regular occurrence,” writes reader A.K.

“What drives me crazy is the sight of someone wearing scrubs while shopping for groceries, going to the post office, picking up their kids from day care, and so on,” writes Jenny, a nurse. “Someone wearing scrubs has been around germs all day. That person is too lazy to keep their patients’ problems away from you, and now they’re handling the apples and cereal boxes that you or someone you love may handle next.”

As my story explains, there’s no evidence that wearing soiled scrubs out of the hospital poses a threat to the public, but part of the problem is that the issue of physician attire and germs hasn’t been well studied. To read more, read the full Well column here, and then post your comments below. 

What do you think? Are you bothered when you see someone wearing scrubs in public?

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