The noted medical ethicist, Arthur Caplan, was interviewed today by Boston Public Radio. He covered a number of topics, including the white coat, and recommended that doctors get rid of both neckties and the white coat on the basis of microbial contamination. He endorsed scrubs as the appropriate attire. Says Art: "The old white coat is a fine garment, if you're in the 19th century."
You can listen to the interview here. Scroll forward to hear the white coat discussion at about 8:55.