Monday, July 21, 2008


Every now and then, unique opportunities present themselves at work. This past weekend I helped staff an all-day rock concert. We worked for free (I'm sure someone got paid somewhere, but it wasn't me!), keeping the air-conditioned first-aid building a revolving door of heavily-tattooed drunk punks walking in and out. It was a rock/alternative concert, so naturally there was an all-day mosh pit that kept us busy. Paramedics on ATVs regularly brought in the vomiting and wounded.

For the most part, the patients were all drunk. There's nothing more annoying than telling a drunken fool to hold still while you stitch up their ungrateful face with a portable spotlight in a garage for lighting.

ME: "You need stitches."

DRUNK DUDE/CHICK: "I don't want stitches."

ME: "Well then, you can walk out and tomorrow wonder why your face is such a mess."

DD/C: "Fine, put them in. Ow! OW!!!! OWWWW!!!!!! I F***'N HATE GETTING STITCHES!!!"

ME: "Shut up, that was just the betadine."

There were a few serious injuries-- someone got run over by a car and another landed on his head and may have had a neck fracture. Most of the stuff was pretty simple. Our only capabilities were starting IVs and suturing. We were supposed to have been supplied with some Tylenol and Motrin, but ended up not having anything other than nebulizers for asthmatics and antiemetics. Oh well. Anyone with a loss of consciousness, possible fractures, or vague complaints that couldn't be evaluated got shipped out. A full-term pregnant woman came in actively contracting, but she wasn't actively delivering, so we shipped her out, too.

There were 12,000 concert attendants and I think we treated 78 patients. There's a formula for figuring out how many medical providers are needed to cover large-scale events. It's a pretty rough guideline though, because there's no way to really plan for large-scale pandemonium, like when a stage collapses on people or there's a fire/chemical exposure. Our coverage was exellent, and the day was relaxed enough that we took turns walking around the grounds and enjoying the bands. A mid-concert rain shower made for a lot of mud, but kept the temperature cool enough that despite all-day beer guzzling at an outdoor venue, we didn't see too much dehydration.

I stuck close to my attending on breaks because he was well-known to all of the security guys. They let us up right in front of the stage. We were behind the security guard barrier, so it was hilarious watching them catch crowd surfers all night long, and release them back to the masses. I can't imagine the workout from grabbing drunk adults and setting them down safely on the ground hour after hour.

I took these pictures with my cellphone, so they're pretty crappy, but you get the idea.

The music was great, so it made dealing with all of the drunk people worth it. The headliners were Shinedown, Seether, and Three Days Grace. We people-watched from in front of the stage for some of Shinedown and most of Three Days Grace's performance. I could hear most of Seether's songs from standing outside the medical station. Luckily, even drunk people wait through good music to seek medical treatment.

Three Days Grace:
More Three Days Grace:

I think I saw more than enough tattoos and belly flab to get me through the next year. There were a few young women who needed assistance from security getting their shirts and bikini tops back on. I gave my single guy buddy a hard time for missing out on the concert! It was entertaining just watching random shoes and water bottles flying though the air of the crowd.


Chris said...

Sounds like a cool time.

Let me ask, were the most vocal of the "I don't lick stitches" covered with tattoos and piercings?

~~Silk said...

Oh, yeah. It's great to be at events like that without actually being a part of it. (Reading that over, it sounds sarcastic, but it's not. I mean like you get the taste without suffering the heartburn.)

Kate said...

Silk: Yeah, it was much worse for people working at the area hospitals because they had to deal with all of the fallout from the concert. We had the benefit of just being able to shake our heads and shove them in an ambulance.

Chris: There seems to be an inverse ratio to the number of tattoos and pain tolerance.

ru said...

I miss concerts. I've heard of 3 Day Grace. Makes me think of library fines for some reason :) I haven't heard of the other three though.

RYC: Yeah, never been a big fan of water, diving especially. Water has been intimidating to me (partly because I am blind and have no depth perception without glasses) ever since I can remember. I'm hoping to start swimming again soon and conquer that fear. The poem is a metaphor for this huge change that will be happening soon.