|Thomas Eakins- The Agnew Clinic, 1889|
But here is the most striking part: In 1976 patient approval (Gallup Poll) of physicians (high or very high reported approval) was 56%. In 2016, the reported approval was 65%, a modest gain.
In my opinion, public approval of the medical profession is less than optimal. The white coat as a symbol of humanism and professionalism falls short. Perhaps we would be better perceived if we relentlessly advocated for universal access to safe and reliable care.
As for my opinion on the white coat, it can be found in this comprehensive summary.