Looking for Ruiz

There is some guy in NYC with the last name Ruiz. Actually, there are probably a fair number of people in NYC with the last name Ruiz. But the Ruiz who I am looking for works for the NYPD Traffic Patrol. He works the area around NY Presbyterian Hospital. He definitely works on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. He has written me three parking tickets. He is either vengeful or clueless, perhaps both or worse.

It started off innocently enough early last fall. The weather had been nice and I had been keeping the soft top of my 2002 Jeep Wrangler down to enjoy the sun. The Jeep has MD license plates—not because I want the world to know that I am a doctor but because around Columbia there are parking spots designated “physician vehicles only.” I can park there. Note that these parking signs do not say “MD plates.” When I awoke that Tuesday morning in September, it was raining. I didn’t have time or the inclination to put the Jeep top up. For those of you not familiar with the machinations of putting a Jeep top up, let me assure you it is not something to take lightly. It is purely a manual affair that gets no assistance from any motors, electricity, etc. It’s a Jeep not a BMW. I took another car of mine, one without MD license plates.

When I parked, I clearly began to make sure that this car would be recognized as a “physician’s vehicle.” I placed my hospital ID and my business card on the driver’s side dashboard. Mr. Ruiz, perhaps of failing eyesight, didn’t see these things. I got a ticket. After sending copies of my medical license, hospital ID and business card, the NYPD Parking Violations Bureau miraculously revoked the ticket. I couldn’t believe it. There was actually someone at the Parking Violations Bureau who gave a damn.

So why am I looking for Patrolman Ruiz? Because this chain of events has occurred two more times despite even enhanced efforts on my part to identify my other car as a “physician’s vehicle.” After the first incident, I learned my lesson. Now if I drive the non-MD license plate car, I place two hospital IDs on the dashboard, tape notes on the front and rear windshield stating this is a physician’s vehicle, put my business card over the rear license plate and my business card under the front windshield exactly where Mr. Ruiz would need to place the parking ticket. Despite this, Patrolman Ruiz has written two more tickets. Who is this malevolent, maladroit maniac who takes surreal pleasure in doing this? I search the streets for him. I look at the badge of every traffic cop around NY Presbyterian. Never found him. Does he exist?

In VEIN this month you needn’t search for Ruiz or much else. We’ve got it all in plain site. We address common problems and some uncommon ones. But none of them are anywhere near the life-threatening problems Mr. Ruiz encounters on a daily basis. Forehead and periorbital veins are hard to hide with long dresses or pants. Mitch Goldman let’s us know when and how to treat these types of veins. Ari Soffer, an experienced cardiologist and vein specialist, gives us a unique perspective on leg swelling evaluation. Helane Fronek, a woman there during the evolution of modern vein care, brings us her perspective regarding women in phlebology. Hiring and training new MD employees in a vein practice poses unique challenges. Gordon Gibbs, an excellent teacher and vein specialist, imparts his experience and protocols he uses to address this issue. Finally, Mel Rosenblatt shares some sage advice and experience with pelvic and lower extremity vein work. These are articles to enjoy.

Mr. Ruiz is not as happy or as lucky as the readers of VEIN. He obviously is a sad, pathetic man who hates doctors or doctors who drive cars without MD plates. His days are numbered. His reign of terror on the New York streets will soon end. Every dog has his day. I will get MD plates for every car I own. Take that, Patrolman Ruiz, and enjoy your long, lonely traffic officer shifts staring at all of my cars with MD plates, remembering the “good old days” when Elias’ cars were prime targets.

by Steve Elias, MD, FACS, FACPh
Medical Director