May 14, 2010

Concerts, games or races, Event Medicine is on scene

Featured Image

LifeFlight’s Event Medicine team provides health care services at a variety of events. At the Nashville Predators’ 5k Run are, from left, Jerry Jones, Duwayne Hall, Joaquin Toon, runners Kiley Adams and Tara Abernathy, and Chad Walker. (photo by Linda Pearce)

Concerts, games or races, Event Medicine is on scene

When avid runner Peter Pressman was helping to organize the 2009 Music Fest Road Race, getting injured was the last thing on his mind.

After welcoming hundreds of runners at the Country Music Hall of Fame Park, he stepped off a curb and sustained a fractured femur. Within minutes two paramedics from Vanderbilt LifeFlight's Event Medicine division were at his side.

Event Medicine Manager Leigh Sims and paramedic Jerry Mooreland quickly determined that Pressman would require immediate ambulance transport to Vanderbilt University Hospital.

Peter Pressman is among those who have been helped by LifeFlight’s Event Medicine.

Peter Pressman is among those who have been helped by LifeFlight’s Event Medicine.

“The paramedics were very efficient in taking my vitals and comforted me as I was accepting the reality that I was seriously injured,” Pressman said.

One year later, after undergoing surgery and extensive physical therapy, Pressman, who is current treasurer and past-president of Nashville Striders, completed the Country Music Half Marathon.

“Not running again is not an option for me. I crossed the finish line with a smile on my face,” Pressman said. “I'm so grateful for the care I received at Vanderbilt and where I am in my recovery at this point. I was treated so well and Vanderbilt seemed to really care.”

Pressman's story is just one of many from the people who have been helped since 2008, when Vanderbilt LifeFlight Event Medicine was created when Vanderbilt University Medical Center became the official health care and emergency medical services provider of the Nashville Predators and the Bridgestone Arena.

“Our team has provided medical coverage to hundreds of events,” said Sims. “Event Medicine started as the official health care provider of the Nashville Predators and has expanded to cover more than 300 events per year.”

Those events include high profile concerts and performances at Bridgestone Arena as well as all Vanderbilt University athletic events and VU Commencement. Off campus, the team's work includes the annual Iroquois Steeplechase, the CMA Music Fest and Nashville's annual Pride Festival.

Regardless of the size of the event, the emergency teams are ready for any type of medical emergency. Many of the events at Bridgestone Arena have more than 15,000 people in attendance.

“We're treated many different types of injuries,” Sims said. “Broken bones, strokes, seizures, heart attacks, intoxicated patients and the variety of things you would find with thousands of people. It is like a small town; we have to be prepared to take care of anything.”

In addition to ambulance coverage and EMS response, first aid stations are often set up, which include providing patrons with complimentary over-the-counter medications. Sims added that the staff are also heavily involved with pre-event planning and work with LifeFlight Emergency Communications on communications planning and weather monitoring.

LifeFlight Event Medicine is comprised of a diverse and experienced group of 30 Vanderbilt staff. The division also provides a paramedic at Vanderbilt Health One Hundred Oaks.

“We are really excited to be involved in Commencement this year,” Sims said. “We're always looking for opportunities to expand.” Sims said.