SPEEDWAY — On race day, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is like its own city, with hundreds of thousands of race fans making their way to the track.
And every big city needs a hospital.
It takes 22 nurses, 125 EMT/paramedics and several specialty doctors to be on hand at IMS to make sure all race fans, drivers and crews can be well taken care of.
At the infield medical center, the staff is ready to help anyone who needs it.
With dozens of beds, machines and tools filling the IU Health Infield Care Center, Deputy Medical Director Julia Vaizer said they can handle almost every injury they see.
“This is a small infield care center. We actually have quite a bit and capabilities to take care of a lot of acute emergencies,” Vaizer said.
If race day calls for warm weather, they know they’ll be busy.
“On a warm day, we are busier in this building than we are at Methodist ER,” said Dave Clark, medical manager.
They’re prepared, in part, because of nurses like Jan Baele.
She jokes she’s been working at the field hospital since the track was made of bricks. In her more than 40 years of experience, she’s seen a lot.
“I said when I started doing this that I wish I had kept a journal because there are just so many things that happen that I’ve gone, 'Can you believe that?'” Baele said.
Baele said one never knows what to expect with hundreds of thousands of people in one spot.
“There are days that we have gotten here at 6 o'clock in the morning and there have already been people you know waiting to be seen,” Baele said.
While they are ready to help anyone in need, they hope no one needs them.
“All we want is to sit and watch the race… but we're here if we need be,” Vaizer said.