Breast cancer surgeon rides child's pink bike to get through traffic jam for surgery

Catherine Baucom, a breast cancer surgeon in Louisiana, was on her way to a surgery at BRASS Surgery Center of Baton Rouge last Wednesday morning when she found herself caught in a complete traffic shutdown caused by a major accident. She handled it like a boss: the surgeon, who is also a cyclist, borrowed a pink bicycle and helmet decorated with Disney princesses from a nearby friend’s 7-year-old daughter, and she pedaled like hell.

Dr. Baucom remembered a friend that lived a few blocks from her position in the mayhem and made her way to his house. "Catherine called, she was outside my house. She said 'Hey do you have a bike?' I walked outside and said yea, its a kids bike," said Dr. Brian Barnett. After a quick test run, Dr. Baucom decided the bike was her only choice to get to the hospital. "I got the air pump out and aired the tires up as much as I could."

He gladly loaned her his seven year old daughter's bike and helmet and the nearly six foot tall surgeon resumed her journey to the surgery center.

"It was hot pink and small," Dr. Baucom said, describing the bike. "The helmet was pink with princesses." He added he was laughing so much he couldn't get video of her before she peddled away. "But she did utilize the plastic basket on front, to put her cell phone in. Showed her experience with the bike."

Police stopped her, then when she explained what was going on, they escorted her to the hospital. More: Surgeon rides child's bike to get thru traffic nightmare ( More at local CBS affiliate WAFB.

(HT: Jim Maltese)


  1. Police stopped her, then when she explained what was going on, they escorted her to the hospital.

    Lucky they let her get a word in edge wise and just didn’t taser her or tackle her to the ground first.  (Or maybe BB has just made me a bit jaded about the popo.)

    1. According to the linked article,”escorted her to the hospital” translates to driving in front of her and videotaping her ride.

      I am assuming a detail is being left out as that would mean (a) the road was clear enough for the police car and (b) rather than giving her a ride to the hospital, the police opted to drive in front of her while she rode the funny bike.

      That can’t be right?

      1. Yeah, that was weird. I’d have assumed they’d have given her a lift; it would actually have been easier than keeping pace with her on her mismatched bike.

        Minor correction: the cops didn’t videotape her, that was the hospital personnel. At least as per the first link, and the video there.

      2. I suppose depending how close she had gotten to the hospital by that point, and how far her destination at the hospital was from an easily reachable road, that might actually have been the quickest thing.

      1. On reading that, my antiauthoritarian hackles were starting to rise as well – until I realized that the cops had no way of knowing if she had stolen the bike, was the owner, or obtained it with permission. It’s an unusual enough sight that they should legitimately wonder if she’d just taken a kid’s bike and helmet from a home, school, or playground nearby. Or was some kind of mental patient on the lam.

          1. True.  Also, no one in SF would have noticed the good doctor, even if she was riding that little bike naked or in just some fluorescent body paint.   (But she could get pulled over and ticketed for not stopping at stop signs.)

          2. She was probably stopped at about the 500 yard radius where Hazmat was dealing with the 8700 gallon tanker leaking isobutane that had crashed and blocked I-10 for about 26 hours. I have a friend who was told that no one could enter or leave his apartment complex, which was rather disturbing until the reason was clear. She probably was just passing under I-10 on Essen. That whole area was shut down.

      2. Perhaps the blocked road was a highway where pedal bikes are not allowed?

        (EDIT to add: Article says the cops caught up with her on the Interstate 10.)

          1. Now that makes more sense.

            Honestly, the more I think about the whole situation, it seems like the good doc is a bit of a lunatic to boot! I bet she could run/jog further than she can peddle that bike.

  2. You know that movie cliche where a cop takes someone’s car, telling the driver the car is “needed for police business”?

    I don’t know why, but I couldn’t help thinking of that as I read this story. And thinking that I’d much rather hand my car over to a surgeon.

  3. One company in my hometown has folding bikes in trunks of most of their cars. Needless to say, they don’t get late to meetings because of “bad transport conditions”.

  4. It’s ironic I see this right after reading this:  

    1. She does have a bike, which she rides, as you’d know if you read the linked article. A traffic jam caught her away from home (and, presumably, from her bike) and near the house of a friend and colleague, whose daughter had a bike. I’d like the gentleman to have a bike of his own, but I’d like lots of people to have lots of nice things. It’s hardly an indictment of the fellow that he – while providing for his daughter and providing medical services to his community – doesn’t have a bicycle.

  5. They must have solved all the serious crimes already and are moving in on the kids bike recovery program.

    1. As the article points out – she was heading onto the I-10.  It was probably more in the “stopping incredibly brave/foolish people on inadequate bicycles from being smooshed” program’s rubric.

  6. I can’t help but think if Cory posted this, it would be about the Doctor being pulled over by the police when she was trying to get to a surgery.  I’m jaded, now. :)

  7. Quick question for anyone with a hospital background – scrubs are clearly worn out and about in the wild all the time (I’m looking at you, filthy New York subway). Do doctors and nurses change into a fresh pair when they get to the hospital or just for operations and stuff? Or are they just like street clothes but for people of the medical persuasion?  Do they get covered up by other layers in situations where germs matter?

    1. Basically, there are 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 times more harmful bugs in the hospital than on the street.

        1. And get their own clothes dirty? I think not. If you’re doing a clean/sterile procedure, you suit up appropriately, but scrubs are just a look, not a precaution.

          Nurses traditionally wore white so that you could see if their uniforms were dirty, not because the nursing uniform was any cleaner than other clothing.

  8. This is EXACTLY like that scene from “Goonies,” except that instead of getting caught up in the middle of her little brother’s Exciting Pirate Adventure she ended up performing critical surgery.

  9. Police stopped her…


    I’m glad they helped her get where she was going, but an adult riding on a kid’s bike isn’t something that should raise suspicions even if it does raise eyebrows.

  10. LaylaSV asked
    ” Do doctors and nurses change into a fresh pair when they get to the hospital or just for operations and stuff”

    Do or Should?

    We should.  Not everyone does.  Hospital/industrial laundries use much hotter water than home cleaning and remove more evil bugs from our scrubs.  For most workers, the issue is more taking bugs OUT of the hospital than bringing them IN to the hospital. 

    OSHA says you need clean scrubs for the OR and other high risk areas, and that hospitals should launder those scrubs.  Surgeons wash their hands extensively before operating, and then wear gowns and gloves that totally cover their  clothes, hats for their hair, and masks as well, often shoe covers to boot. 

    Still, best practice is to change from your street clothes into hospital clothes when you get to work.

    Let us give this apparently cool surgeon the benefit of the doubt, and assume that her scrubs were either a)not worn while riding a bicycle to work and/or b) changed when she arrived at the second hospital.  Or perhaps the photos were simply an after-the-surgery photo op with a friend’s camera. 

    the Fiat RN
    Denver, CO

  11. That surgeon is in better shape than I.  I don’t think I’d trust myself performing surgery immediately after an aerobic workout.

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