‘It’s what we do’ | Inside the medical tent at Carolina Country Music Fest


‘It’s what we do’ | Inside the medical tent at Carolina Country Music Fest


Months of planning, excellent teamwork with first responders and the dedication of the 53 Tidelands Health medical professionals who volunteered to man the medical tent at CCMF helped make the event a success.

It’s the behind-the-scenes part of the Carolina Country Music Fest that most folks are glad they missed.
But for the roughly 160 patients who needed urgent medical care during the festival, the onsite medical tent staffed by Tidelands Health could have been a literal life saver.
As the official health care provider of CCMF, Tidelands Health equipped and manned the festival’s medical tent along Ninth Avenue North, working alongside first responders to treat any urgent medical needs. From bruises and blisters to dehydration, panic attacks and more, the team handled it all.

You are not sure what you are going to get,” said Wendi Kobylarz, Tidelands Health emergency department director who was the hospital leader for CCMF. “It’s just a different kind of stressful. We took care of all the patients. We did our jobs.”
Kobylarz credits the months of planning, excellent teamwork with first responders and the dedication of the 53 Tidelands Health medical professionals who volunteered to man the medical tent with the event’s success.

‘We take care of people’

Standing at the ready in a tent to meet the medical needs of a sold-out crowd of 35,000 each night – a population larger than some cities – took months of planning and coordination.
Kobylarz drew on her experience in the medical tents for Tidelands Health at other large events, including the Wings Over Myrtle Beach Air Show in 2018.
She worked with her team to anticipate the likely medical needs of the CCMF crowd – think bruises, blisters, heat exhaustion, dehydration – and arranged for the best medications and equipment to have onsite. Instead of an elaborate supply like they’d have in the hospital ER, there was a single cart of carefully coordinated medications and supplies.

Featured Article

Jellyfish: What to do if you’re stung

Read Article

But when it comes to providing urgent medical care, there’s only so much you can plan. Unlike the CCMF performances, there’s no lineup for what’s next and what time. You rely on the team’s skill, dedication to caring for people and even a little improvisation to handle whatever shows up next.
“We didn’t know what was rolling in until it rolled in,” said Jessica Hewitt, Tidelands Health trauma program manager who worked closely with Kobylarz on CCMF planning and volunteered all four nights. “We just rolled with it. We had an organizational flow and really good partners. It was just like the ER. We take care of the patient and move on to the next one. You never know what you are getting.
“It’s what we do. We take care of people.”

Always on the ready

Despite the uncertainty of what would come next, doctors, nurses and other medical professionals were ready to assess each patient’s needs. Many patients were able to receive treatment in the medical tent and return to the festival grounds for more fun.
“Our goal was to help them and get them back out there to enjoy it,” said registered nurse Brianna Eppard, who volunteered Saturday night, the busiest time in the medical tent when 48 patients were seen. “It was like a revolving door of patients. But it’s what we are trained to do.”

Featured Article

CPR training: Learn to save a life

Read Article

For about a dozen patients with more severe conditions, the team assessed them, stabilized them and coordinated with the nearby ambulance on standby to take them to the hospital. One CCMF attendee went into labor. Another attendee ended up in the tent with symptoms that Tidelands Health medical professionals diagnosed as a stroke, where timely care is especially crucial. The patient arrived at the hospital in time to receive the powerful blood-thinning medication Tenecteplase, or TNK.
“Everyone did a great job working together and representing the mission and vision of Tidelands Health,” Kobylarz said. “I am very proud of all our efforts during CCMF.”

‘I’d do it again in a heartbeat’

Kobylarz expressed gratitude to all the volunteers, Tidelands Health departments that supported the medical tent and the many first responders from multiple agencies who worked alongside them. Many agencies were involved, including the city of Myrtle Beach, Myrtle Beach Fire Department, Horry County Fire-Rescue and the Pee Dee Regional Medical Assistance Team, along with law enforcement officers from Myrtle Beach, Horry County, SLED and others.

Enjoying this story? It’s free to republish. Learn more.

“They made us feel very much a part of the team,” Kobylarz said. “We had a really good working relationship with everyone. We couldn’t do it alone. Everyone was great. They made each one of us feel like we were one big team and worked together all the time.”
After a long four days and little sleep, Kobylarz reflected on CCMF with pride as accolades and gratitude for a job well done poured in.
“I’d do it again in a heartbeat,” Kobylarz said Monday afternoon, the day after CCMF’s final performance. “Maybe a little bit of a nap first, but then we’d do it again.”

Sign me up for email updates

Sign up below to receive email updates from MyCarolinaLife.com.

Live Better. Learn More.

Sign up for our e-newsletter.