Wednesday, November 14, 2012


One day during residency, on my way to the VA for lecture, I saw one of my co-residents standing outside his car, flanked by two very serious-looking police officers. This particular resident was always a little on the sketchy side, so I was pretty much dying of curiosity. Maybe the cops caught on to his, like, drug trafficking side business or something.

But it was nothing so exciting. Apparently, he got pulled over for speeding in the VA parking lot. Got a $200 ticket.

Someone later told me that they did this constantly on the VA hospital campus. Lots of doctors received tickets for going FIVE miles over the speed limit (which was like 10 MPH). I'd imagine patients get pulled over a lot too. Considering how behind we always get in clinics and how long patients have to wait, is it really a good idea to start pulling over doctors just as they're getting to work and making them wait 20 minutes for you to write out a ticket? Or patients who are already probably running late to their appointments?

Me: "I can't believe they pulled you over when you were wearing your white coat!"

Resident: "Yeah, they don't care."

Me: "You should have told them you were, like, on your way to deliver a baby."

Resident: "At the VA???"

Me: "Oh. Maybe not."


  1. BWAAA-HA-HA! The cops would have accompanied him to witness the miracle!

  2. Does that mean they ticketed pts in motorized wheelchairs and the volunteers in golf carts? (both CAN do more than 10 mph)

  3. They do this all the time at the VA here, both for going even a little bit above the 15 mph speed limit, or for rolling through the multiple stop signs. Their rationale is that there are very many people with altered mental status or physically impaired around.

  4. rules are for everyone. what would a white coat have to do with anything? what the police care about is a safe parking lot for everyone on foot, including numerous patients/family whose mobility is less than optimal. VA police are not targeting docs, they are targeting people who ignore the speed limits. if you're behind in clinic, get to the hospital on time. using this line of reasoning, anyone who works in clinic should get a pass on speeding. you know other people besides doc work in clinics, too?

    1. We all know cops ticket people for stupid reasons. Giving someone a speeding ticket for going 15 MPH while trying to get to the hospital to see patients seems a little over the line to me, but you might disagree.

  5. This is surprising. There is sort of an "unspoken code" among police and nurses, very frequently when nurses in uniform are pulled over, they will be let go with a warning.(depending on the severity of the offense) If they work in an emergency department and it's like 5mph over the limit? No way would they get a ticket.(probably because they know each other). I thought this courtesy was extended to physicians as well.
    Quick Fizzy, get pulled over with your white coat on and test this theory out!