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LifeFlight Event Medicine now official provider for the Grand Ole Opry, Ryman Auditorium

Sep. 15, 2023, 2:35 PM

Paramedic Michael Atwood looks at the Nashville skyline while working the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix in August. (photo by Alyssa Smith)
Paramedic Michael Atwood looks at the Nashville skyline while working the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix in August. (photo by Alyssa Smith)

by Wayne Wood

LifeFlight Event Medicine is now the official event medicine provider for the Grand Ole Opry and the Ryman Auditorium.

The announcement of the agreement with the iconic Nashville institutions caps off a busy summer for the program, said Jennifer Detwiler, MSN, RN, CCRN, the associate director of LifeFlight Event Medicine.

“We touch a lot of people, every single year,” she said.

Among the large events worked by LifeFlight Event Medicine in the past few months are the Iroquois Steeplechase, CMA Fest, NASCAR races, the Nashville Pride celebration, and the Music City Grand Prix.

All told, almost 9,000 patients have been served at the events. Most of those, of course, are brief encounters about mild problems, but more than three dozen people have required transport to a hospital.

Most frequently treated complaints at events are minor related illnesses and injuries such as falls, headache, sunburn, blisters, minor lacerations and heat related illnesses in the summer.

But the physicians, nurses, paramedics, EMTs and other professionals who work events are also trained for mass casualty events and are capable of treating health issues of all types and severities.

“We hope for the best and prepare for the worst. While it may appear that we are simply staffing the medical tents and providing on-scene ‘routine’ medical care, the Event Medicine experience is so much deeper than that,” Detwiler said. “We’ve had four clinical saves from cardiac arrest in the past year.”

The Event Medicine team consists of about 70 employees, most of them who work PRN, plus another 140 who are trained and who also work at events.

LifeFlight Event Medicine began in 2008 when VUMC became the official health care provider of the Nashville Predators. In addition to Predators games, the program is the official provider for Nashville Soccer Club and currently provides EMS coverage for, among others, all events at Bridgestone Arena, F & M Bank Arena in Clarksville, Nashville Sounds baseball games, Fourth of July fireworks, and Vanderbilt football, basketball, lacrosse, cross country, soccer, and track. It totals more than 1,200 events a year.

The new agreement to provide event medicine for the Grand Ole Opry and the Ryman Auditorium will include all regular Grand Ole Opry shows, as well as concerts and other events held at the Opry House and at the Ryman.

“When people see our providers in the community, they know there is an unmatched quality of care that comes with Vanderbilt LifeFlight,” Detwiler said.

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