Thursday, April 24, 2014

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COTA medical center braced for spectrum of scenarios

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TWC News: COTA medical center braced for spectrum of scenarios
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The media took a first look Tuesday inside the medical center at Circuit of the Americas.

The facility is about 5,500 square feet and is designed to serve the more than 100,000 people attending the U.S. Grand Prix, including the drivers.

Responders have already been training for mass casualty events, and will be ready to handle nearly any medical emergency right on site.

"As far as rescue vehicles, they have been equipped with specialized tools. This way, we can cut some of those carbon fiber or what we call round-pipe framing materials used to build these race cars," Battalion Chief Adan Torrest with Austin-Travis County EMS said.

STAR Flight was running drills on the track Tuesday, preparing for potential medical air lifts. The track is designed for STAR Flight helicopters to be able to land anywhere on the track to access drivers quickly.

In most events, drivers could be treated with the medical technology available at the COTA center, but in the event more attention is needed, they could be taken via STAR Flight to Brackenridge Hospital in what is estimated to be a three-minute flight.

The medical center is for anyone needing medical treatment at the track. It's outfitted with x-ray machines, defibrillators, ultrasound machines and even a heart-lung bypass machine.

Dr. Stephen Olvey is the medical director of the new medical center.

“Our intention is to keep everyone as safe as possible,” he said. “You are probably better off having a heart attack here at the track then you are in your own home.”

Olvey previously served as medical director at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway when it hosted F1 racing. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP