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Cape Town – Despite road closures and large numbers of cyclists on the Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour’s 109km route, the organisers insist nobody will be disadvantaged when it comes to medical attention.
There will be 100 response vehicles, including two helicopters, on call to respond to medical emergencies in and outside the route.
Basil Bonner, a specialist emergency physician for MediClinic and the Cycle Tour’s official race doctor, said provisions had been made to ensure residents who were cut off from the city centre could receive medical treatment.
“While the roads are closed to general traffic, we will still allow response vehicles and ambulances to move through sections of the route.”
Medical stations throughout the course will be used to treat cyclists and nearby residents if needed.
Bonner said these stations were almost like field hospitals, staffed with doctors and nurses, and were equipped to deal with anything from a small cut to a heart attack. Patients could be taken to a hospital for further treatment.
“This weekend Cape Town will probably be better equipped to deal with emergencies than any other time of the year.”
Bonner said that in past years, most of those who needed treatment were riders who had crashed.
“Because there are so many novice riders in the race, there are quite a few spills and tumbles along the way. We have to treat many people for cuts and bruises,” Bonner said.
Another common occurrence was dehydration.
Emergency operations will be overseen by a control room at Tygerberg Hospital. There, medical officials, joined by members of the city’s disaster management team, will monitor phone calls, live video feeds and electronic data bases to make sure everything runs smoothly.
Bonner said one thing that set the Cycle Tour’s massive medical operation apart from other events was the use of electronic patient records. These records allowed the medical team to quickly gauge a patient’s requirements based on their medical history. – Cape Argus