Roller-skating doctors

One of the most persistent TV tropes in medical dramas is the roller-skating doctor. I recall Howie Mandel zipping around the corridors of St Elsewhere and in Grey’s Anatomy I’ve seen the pediatric surgeon played by Jessica Capshaw using the same mode of transport.

Given the likelihood of collisions with vulnerable patients it seems a crazy thing to do and it’s difficult to believe any hospital would allow it. So is this an invention of the scriptwriters because it looks cool or does it have some basis in reality?

I’m a nurse & a silly saying is when it’s really busy at work we need to be on roller skates. I’ve never seen anybody on them, though. And the doctors aren’t the ones running the halls anyway.

Another data point – Dick Van Dyke’s character on Diagnosis Murder was shown on skates in the opening credits – don’t recall if they ever used it in the course of an actual story or not.

In the underground corridors linking several buildings of a hospital campus, I’ve seen people using scooters and bikes to get around more quickly. I don’t know if any of them were doctors, though I doubt it; most seemed to be couriers, if I remember correctly. No roller skates and never inside the hospital buildings themselves. The underground corridors were much wider and less populated than those inside the hospital buildings.

When I was an intern at an Air Force medical center, I was on duty on my birthday ( the first 24 hours of a 35 hour shift).

One of my patient’s wives made me a birthday cake. My husband came to visit that night, and brought me my birthday presents. One of them: a pair of roller skates. I proceeded to put on the skates and I skated through the hospital, showing off my present. The hospital had indoor/outdoor carpeting in most areas, so it was a bit slow. I did a turn through the ICU which had slick vinyl tiles. It was fun.

Nothing was ever said about it. A few weeks later, there was a notice in the base newspaper saying “roller skates are not part of the official Air Force uniform, and may not be worn while in uniform.”

In my 3+ decades in medicine, I don’t recall noting any roller-skating doctor memes.

Of course, I may just have been unobservant.

Another instance of this occurs in the Harrison Ford movie “The Fugitive”. IIRC, it’s around the time he diagnoses the boy with chest pain.

Doesn’t really make sense to do this - too much unpredictable foot traffic in a confined space.

Another Example:
Sarah Chalk who plays Elliot on *Scrubs *has roller skated several times over the past 7-8 Seasons of scrubs, usually though they’ve used it when they wanted an effect shot of the character moving around w/o moving their legs. She just happens to be able to skate really well so she brought her skates for those effects vs. others who had to stand on a wheeled board and have it pulled to produce the shot.