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LifeFlight Event Medicine covers events large and small

Feb. 4, 2014, 3:01 PM

LifeFlight Event Medicine at the Iroquois Steeplechase.

Providing emergency medical coverage at special events can be challenging. But a recent downtown-wide New Year’s Eve celebration required the support equivalent to a mini-disaster response.

On New Year’s Eve, Vanderbilt LifeFlight’s Event Medicine, along with the Metro Nashville Fire Department, provided emergency medical services (EMS) coverage for Nashville’s annual New Year’s celebration, “Bash on Broadway.” At the same time Event Medicine provided EMS for entertainer Bassnectar’s concert at the Bridgestone Arena.

“I am incredibly impressed with the organization and the dedication of the Event Medicine group,” said John Morris, M.D., associate chief of staff for the Vanderbilt Health System and professor of Surgery in the Division of Trauma & Surgical Critical Care.

Morris was one of more than 50 Vanderbilt employees donating time on New Year’s Eve to help provide medical coverage for the two large downtown events.

More than 100 patients were treated at Bridgestone Arena in a three-hour span, with more than 50 of those requiring extended care. Twelve patients were transported by ambulance to hospitals.

The evening also marked a first-time collaboration between LifeFlight and the Metro Nashville Health Department. A mass casualty tracking system was deployed and tested, as was a field hospital tent that was set up in a garage area at Bridgestone Arena.

Stephan Russ, M.D., associate chief of staff for Vanderbilt University Hospital and associate professor of Emergency Medicine, was one of several Emergency Medicine physicians working both events.

“The event medicine program plays a critical role in bringing state-of-the-art Vanderbilt level care into the community,” Russ said. “The teamwork displayed by Dr. Jared McKinney (medical director for the Event Medicine Division) and Leigh Sims (manager of the Event Medicine division) and the rest of the event medicine team represents Vanderbilt’s culture at its very best.”

Vanderbilt is one of a handful of flight programs providing this type of service. The Event Medicine team is now providing coverage at more than 600 events each year.

The Event Medicine division is one of six divisions that make up Vanderbilt LifeFlight. Other divisions include the helicopter (rotor); airplane (fixed wing); emergency communications; ground EMS; and discharge transport management. These divisions work in sync to provide almost any type of emergency medical services outside the Vanderbilt hospital system.

“We strive to provide the highest level of customer service and help make the event an enjoyable time for everyone,” said Jeanne Yeatman, RN, EMT, administrative director of Emergency Services for Vanderbilt University Medical Center. “That includes not only providing exceptional medical care, but also a commitment to make sure the event attendees are taken care of –- that may include helping attendees find their seats, or even providing directions to a local hotel.”

In addition to Nashville Predators hockey, medical coverage is provided for all events at the Bridgestone Arena, Belmont University Athletics, Nashville Sounds baseball, and Vanderbilt football, basketball, lacrosse, cross country, track and soccer team events. Event Medicine also works closely with Vanderbilt Sports Medicine to coordinate care at these events.

by Jerry Jones

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