Are you my doctor?

01 Feb 2009, comments

This week I was noticing one of those small, but possibly revealing cultural differences between France and the US. It has to do with what doctors wear at work. I was having a routine examination done, and the specialist I was there to see -- male, mid-40s -- was wearing jeans and a long-sleeved fantasy sport league polo shirt. No white lab coat or stethoscope or any other of the traditional trappings of the medical profession (traditional, that is, from an American perspective). At first when I saw him coming and going about the office, I wasn't sure if he was the doctor, or a technician there to repair something. If I wasn't used to the fact that french physicians dress extremely casually, it never would've even occurred to me that he could be the doctor.

I'm not complaining, mind you. Just curious about what else might be different, but less obvious.