20 years of care – wherever!

Posted on 9 June 2015

It all started with the provision of medical assistance during the then Cape Argus Pick n Pay cycle race in 1996. Today the clinical support of Mediclinic’s Corporate Events department plays a critical role in the success of major public gatherings across the country.

The foundations of Mediclinic Corporate Events were laid by a small but extremely skilled team 20 years ago. A shared passion for emergency medicine at public events brought together Dr Basil Bonner and paramedic Geoff Bettison, and within a few years Elaine Ironside, who has a background in nursing, joined them.

After the success of that very first cycle race the initiative grew from strength to strength. Requests to lend assistance at events such as the Big Walk and Craven Week rugby tournament soon followed. Two decades later Mediclinic Corporate Events are providing medical services at some of South Africa’s largest public events as well as helping – via Mediclinic hospitals countrywide – to ensure that many smaller local gatherings run smoothly.

The operation eventually outgrew its initial base at ‘borrowed’ premises at hospitals. Today ample office space in centrally located Sybrand Park offers the perfect environment for storing the vast amount of field, logistics and medical equipment required for such a comprehensive service. This premises also accommodates logistical support functions such as laundry, central sterile supplies and surgical stores.

A new benchmark
The Mediclinic Corporate Events team is presently able to care for up to 40 patients at a time in a field hospital environment (such as a hall or tent). Moreover, one needs to take into account that, in the case of events such as the Cape Town Cycle Tour (formerly known as the IT, medical facilities are required all along the route as well as at the finish line. Each of these points need to be prepared to evaluate and address a range of problems, and all cases reported to a central control centre to ensure effective management of the overall operation.

The unit’s exceptional work in the field over the past 20 years has had a significant impact on event planning and the delivery of medical services of this nature. It’s no surprise that the City of Cape Town sees Mediclinic’s involvement at the Cape Town Cycle Tour as a golden opportunity to test all elements of disaster management!

Ready for anything
Every second counts in trauma emergencies. What happens in the so-called ‘golden hour’ after an incident is not only crucial to improving clinical outcomes, but also vital.

A good example of this approach is a taxi accident during the Absa Cape Epic mountain-bike race a few years ago that founding members Dr Bonner, Bettison and Ironside will never forget. Ten people were critically injured in the incident, and thanks to the essential capacity and expertise provided on the scene by Mediclinic Corporate Events, the majority of the patients were stabilised and transferred to hospitals in the area within two hours. The unit’s rapid and effective response undoubtedly saved lives and limbs that day.

This standard of clinical support is maintained at every event where Mediclinic Corporate Events offers its services, and the team ensures that effective manpower and resources are deployed and applied optimally.

Behind the scenes…
Mediclinic Corporate Events in action at the Town Tens tournament
More than 23 500 people attended this event on 6 and 7 February 2015. A total of 110 rugby teams and 40 netball teams from across the country and abroad took part in more than 500 matches! The Mediclinic Corporate Events team were at the ready, with Hamilton’s rugby clubhouse as their base. Over these two days, 250 players were successfully treated on the scene and 47 referred to hospitals.

More highlights
Other important dates on the Corporate Events calendar later this year:

IT Mountain-bike Challenge, 1 August
Change a Life Cycle Tour, 4-9 September
Sanlam Cape Town Marathon, 20 September
Kalahari Augrabies Extreme Marathon, 22 October – 1 November
IMPI Challenge, 24 September (Gauteng); 17-18 October (Cape Town)

The information provided in this article was correct at the time of publishing. At Mediclinic we endeavour to provide our patients and readers with accurate and reliable information, which is why we continually review and update our content. However, due to the dynamic nature of clinical information and medicine, some information may from time to time become outdated prior to revision.

Published in Cape Town Marathon

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