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X-Games Emergency Barely Avoided

Updated: Monday, July 7 2014, 01:38 PM CDT

It was nearly an X-Games emergency.  KEYE has learned Austin Travis County Emergency Medical Services nearly shut down an evening Kanye West concert because they were overwhelmed with people who were hot, high, and drunk.

Doctor James Kempama is used to seeing crazy things in the ER at University Medical Center Brackenridge.  "Crazy" is how he describes what he saw during the X-Games, but it wasn't tricks or flips he was referring to.  "EMS was really prepared for this" he said.  "But I don't think anybody anticipated just the sheer numbers, and numbers of transports it didn't take long before they were basically overrun" he continued.

They were overrun with people who were hot, dehydrated, and drunk.

Alcohol wasn't the only issue. 

"It was a combination of alcohol and some methamphetamine use" Dr. Kempama explained.  Ems could not keep up. "EMS was going to have to implement what they call a disaster management or disaster type situation."

That would have delayed or completely cancelled that Kanye West concert.  Making matters worse was the temperature.  It climbed to 92 degrees that day.  "The combination of dehydration and then combine alcohol on top of that it just really kind of augments each other so they essentially get more intoxicated

Before we knew it we just had a large number of patients that we needed to take care of" Kempama explained.

The show went on thanks to some IV fluids and sedating of patients and the help of doctors and nurses from UMC Brackenridge.  Doctor Kempama says the lessons have been learned from an all-day event, at an outdoor venue, in the heat with a concert.  "Anticipate that when you have a concern in addition to that there's going to be more recreational drug use and alcohol use as well and we need to be prepared to deal with those people as well."

Austin/Travis County EMS responded with the following: "ATCEMS responded to, evaluated and treated many patrons throughout this event, but our resources remained in a constant state of readiness. Our personnel worked hard and at times were very busy but our EMS System was always capable of managing the anticipated call-volume. At no time, during any part of the four-day event, did ATCEMS believe that we needed to activate our Emergency Disaster Plan."

X-Games Emergency Barely Avoided


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