UM SRH Emergency Medical Team Provides Care for 140 Competitors at Ironman Maryland
Wet, cloudy and windy weather did not deter nearly 2,000 athletes competing in the Ironman Maryland Triathlon in Cambridge, Maryland last weekend -- nor did it dampen the enthusiasm and efficiency of the UM Shore Regional nursing and medical staff working in the event's Medical Tent from 12 noon on Saturday until the last competitor cross the finish line at 12:30 a.m. Sunday morning.
Located at the water's edge at Long Wharf very close to the Ironman finish line, the Medical Tent was fully equipped with the needed supplies. "We owe special thanks to the UM Shore Medical Center at Dorchester Materials Management team for gathering and organizing all of the needed supplies, and to Dorchester Plant Operations for loading all of the supplies in the trailer and bringing it to the site," said Cathy Weber, manager, Emergency Department at UM SMC at Dorchester. "Dr. Kevin Chapple was also a big help by acquiring all of our needed medications, and Dr. Kevin Pearl, MD provided awesome medical tent direction," she added.
Emergency department staff working under Weber and AnnMarie Hernandez, clinical coordinator of the Dorchester ED, included: Karen Davies, Kristina Davis, Helen Foxwell, Esther Nichols, Megan Stubbs and Douglas Walters. Critical Care University (CCU) faculty Jean Volz and Taffie Wilson also were on site supervising CCU nurses Lashon Adams, Tiffane Corwin, Natalie DiGiovone, Kathy Griffin, Tricia Hillman, Katherine Jasper, Wendy Jones, James Keener, Lauren Trice and Krista Wooters.
"The CCU faculty and nurses were a great help to the rest of the team, and we were very glad to have them with us," said Weber.
"It was a great learning experience for the CCU nurses, who were very excited to be working the event," adds Michael Boldosser, emergency preparedness manager for UM SRH. "In previous years, the Maryland Defense Force provided medical care at both the Eagleman event (held in Cambridge in June) and the Ironman. So this was the first year that Shore Regional Health was on duty for both events, and the team did a great job."
Boldosser has already received a letter of thanks from Gerry Boyle, race director for Ironman and Eagleman, expressing his appreciation for "the amazing support" provided by the Shore Regional Health team. "I was so impressed with the level of quiet, dedicated professionalism being displayed every time I visited the medical tent. I know that our athletes would have been immediately calmed as they entered the tent knowing they were in good hands. Thank you one and all," Boyle wrote.
In addition to Dr. Pearl, attending in the tent was Thomas Chiccone, MD, Region IV medical director for Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Systems Management (MIEMSS) and Talbot County's jurisdictional medical director for Emergency Medical Services (EMS). Dr. Chiccone said he was "happy to be standing in" for Steve White, MD, Dorchester’s jurisdictional medical director for EMS. Dr. White was on site -- but as an Ironman competitor.
The Ironman had registered competitors ages 19-88 from 35 countries and 49 states, although some dropped out prior to the start due to the fact the rough waters and high winds along the Choptank forced cancellation of the swim. Standing water also necessitated a shortened bike ride and a re-routed running course.
Most of the 140 athletes treated in the Medical Tent were experiencing gastric issues, muscle strain, fatigue and dizziness. Only four required transport from the tent to the Dorchester Emergency Department. The team became busier in the late afternoon once most of the more experienced and professional triathletes had crossed the finish line and those with less training and/or endurance were still running.
According to Hernandez, several of the competitors treated were from non-English speaking countries, but they either spoke English well enough that it did not interfere with their care or they had friends or family members who assisted with translation.
Ironman Maryland was exciting and emotional, not only for the triathletes and their families and friends, but for the emergency medical care providers. "Seeing the sweat, tears, and pride from these athletes brought many of us to tears on several occasions," she commented. “I can’t explain in words how emotionally charged you feel when you see them cross that line!"
Tom Chiccone, MD (right) is shown with Talbot County EMT Tony Capella near the Ironman finish line.
Kathy Griffin attends to one of many Ironman competitors who came into the tent after crossing the finish line.
UM SRH team members working in the Medical Tent included (l. to r.): James Keener, Taffie Wilson, Kathy Griffin, Natalie DiGiovone, Karen Davies, Jean Volz, Kim Kral, Doug Walters, AnnMarie Hernandez, Esther Nichols, Kristina Davies, Cathy Weber and Kevin Pearl, MD.