Canadian Grand Prix | And let’s take care of the Gilles-Villeneuve circuit!

The track hospital is ready! Doctors and nurses have recreated real emergencies on the edge of the Gilles-Villeneuve circuit. They are prepared to deal with pilots who have suffered a serious accident as well as spectators who suffer from heat stroke or alcohol intoxication.

Posted at 5:00 am

Emilie Bilodeau

Emilie Bilodeau
The press

“We treat everyone,” says emergency physician François Scarborough, co-director of the runway hospital. “For practical reasons, minor cases are sent to the public clinic, but if someone has a heart attack we bring them here,” said the 15-year-old volunteer at the Canadian Grand Prix.

The emergency doctor is surrounded by a large team from the Sacré-Coeur hospital: nurses, respiratory therapists, anesthesiologists, orthopedists, neurosurgeons, plastic surgeons … They have installed a resuscitation room – an exact replica – in the Pirelli tower, where the race used to start, at the exit of the fork.

“The number of people we treat depends a lot on the temperature,” says Dr.r Scarborough while putting on a fireproof suit to check her size.

There are many people who have heart or lung problems. Their condition is usually stable, but with the track temperature rising to 40 ° C, sometimes to 50 ° C when it is hot, and when hydrated with Molson, some are decompressed.

The Dr François Scarborough, emergency physician

All the doctors and nurses at the temporary hospital remember the death of a worker in 2013. The Formula 1 race had just ended, the spectators were leaving Île Notre-Dame, but the volunteer was hit by a crane. He was taken to the field hospital, then airlifted to the Sacré-Coeur where he was pronounced dead.


Intervention by the medical team in 2013. A volunteer died in an accident after the race.

The Dr Pierre Fiset, co-director of the track hospital, also cites the cardiac arrest of Formula 1600 driver and RDS host Didier Schraenen in 2010. The latter collapsed on the ground in the pits. “He was airlifted to the Sacré-Coeur, where a cardiologist was waiting for him. He had an electrocardiogram, a coronography, and stents. [endoprothèses] and hello visit! He fell at 11.15 and at 13.15 he was already without problems “, says the passionate Formula 1 anesthetist.

I think it was Stéphane Laporte who said that the best place to get sick during the Grand Prix weekend is here. No waiting to see a doctor.

The Dr Pierre Fiset, anesthesiologist

The truth is that doctors rarely treat Formula One drivers over the weekend. “Where we are likely to have more work is with the small formulas, the secondary careers [Coupe Nissan Sentra, Challenge Ferrari, F1600] “, specifies Dr Fiset. After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, enrollment has increased this year, he notes. Drivers also have less experience than in Formula 1 and their vehicles are less safe.

There are no helicopter races

In addition to the volunteer staff mobilized at the track hospital and the public clinic, there are five medical teams in the supply pits. From rescues they are also scattered around the track. They are the only specialists trained to remove a driver from his Formula 1 car in the event of an accident.

“You want to see a formation of rescued ? Come to my car “, D throws us all awayr Fiset, however, has to answer a thousand and one questions from the volunteers. The doctor drives through the Olympic Basin and stops in front of a small brown building. Inside, about thirty people (doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists) practice immobilizing a pilot, removing his helmet without moving his neck and removing him from the cabin with straps. The seat serves as a board.

On Thursday afternoon, officials from the International Automobile Federation (FIA) also checked and timed their maneuvers. Doctors and nurses also participated in two simulations during the day. They had time to practice by loading a stretcher into a helicopter.

Photo courtesy of the CIUSSS of Nord-de-l’Île-de-Montréal

A team transports a person for a helicopter transfer.

“You always need a helicopter on site, otherwise the races will stop completely,” said Michael Pilote, Airmedic’s chief pilot. So we have a helicopter on site and another in Saint-Hubert. As soon as a patient gets on the helicopter, the Saint-Hubert helicopter will take off to take the place of the first so that he will never be discovered. »

It is the FIA ​​that requires the presence of a helicopter-ambulance, underlines the Dr Scarborough. “It simply came to our notice then. There are more than 100,000 people on Île Notre-Dame. It would be dangerous and lead to too long delays, ”explains what is nicknamed Scarby by his teammates.

And doctors, finally, who will win the Grand Prix? The heart of the two doctors is tilted by the Monegasque Charles Leclerc.

“But I don’t care who wins,” he saidr Fiset. For me, that’s what I like, to be with this whole gang, this gang of very dedicated people. »

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