This is the most notorious piece of medical apparel, often referred to as a “butcher’s apron” by modern writers who are horrified at the unsanitary practices of early surgeons. Rather than being sterilized between operations, the apron was allowed to accumulate blood and other bodily fluids throughout the day, transferring infectious material from one patient to the next. Thankfully, both the black robe and the apron fell out of favor as medicine became less of a barbaric art form and more of a science.
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