Friday, March 6, 2009

Beware of Hospital Parking Facilities

What is it with hospital parking? Everyone complains--the patients, staff, physicians. Generally, it seems like a case of not enough spots for way too many people. In medical school I lived so close to the hospital that I never had to worry about parking. But that did not stop me from having my share of encounter with cars nearly running me over as I walked through parking areas, or near accidents caused by physicians racing out of the MD lot that was near the street I lived on.

Many of the patterns I observed there continue at my new institution. Only now I have to drive and am entitled to park in one of those "MD/staff only" parking areas. Being in the field that I am in where we do not do morning rounds, I get to arrive a bit later in the morning than many of my fellow residents. Thus, I get there around the time that tired people are leaving after working overnight and as many of the attendings are arriving.

Can I just say sleep deprivation, luxury cars with big engines, and arrogance are a really bad mixture? In the past week I have seen cars weaving towards the exit with the telltale open window of a sleepy driver, and been nearly read-ended multiple times by Lexus/Audi/BMW/Mercedes racing up behind me on the ramps in the mad dash for spots. In one case I looked in my rear view mirror and saw the driver making obscene gestures at me since I was apparently not driving fast enough in a narrow aisle with a 5 mph speed limit. I was very surprised he did not honk. But I was not surprised when I later caught a glimpse of his badge as we walked into the hospital. I'll leave his department to your imagination.

The moral of the story is drive very defensively when you go to a teaching hospital, especially if it is around shift change.


PAT said...

No, I am not commenting on the parking. I am very happy, though, to have found your new blog, as I read your old one daily.

I found out coincidentally that you had been living with (in Sacto) an old friend and colleague of mine, SS; we met up at a conference in October. I did tell her that you did not blog about her! I also shared my astonishment that you had become a trainee pathologist.

Anyway, good to see you back and I look forward to more stories. I have to admit that some of my fascination was revisiting the haunts of my youth (where you went to medical school) through someone else's eyes 20 years later, but this should be just as much fun.

Rach said...

I was once working as a medic overseas with a crew that had been on a 24 hour shift. We worked the FULL 24 hours nonstop. The paramedic on the crew pulled his car out of the parking lot after his shift to drive the 6 blocks back to his house to sleep a few hours before having to come back to work, and drove RIGHT through the gate. Oy.

Sleep deprivation and cars are a dangerous, albeit humourous combination.
You're smart for showing up right at shift change though.

Alexandra {{Awareness Warrior}} said...

UNM Hospital now has separate parking for staff and patients, which is nice, but there is no way to turn around to go back down once you're at the top of the parking structure (which still doesn't have enough space)! At least I don't have to worry about the med students shooting me the bird because of my bumper sticker (C'mon people, I'd gladly debate, but let's keep it mature! I'm not at the hospital for FUN!)

If you have any experiences with juvenile dermatomyositis and other pediatric auto-immune inflammatory diseases, please do post about it. I would so appreciate some fresh information (or any at all for that matter)!

God bless,