Play ball: Cleveland, Chicago hospitals ready for World Series crowds

Hospitals are used to seeing patient volumes increase during large events, and in Cleveland and the North Side of Chicago, nothing is bigger right now than baseball.

Wrigley Field in Chicago is prepped and ready to host its first World Series game since 1945 Friday night, which means hospitals in the vicinity are also preparing for their first World Series in 71 years as well.

The series is tied one game to one after the Cleveland Indians hosted the first two games earlier this week. It had been awhile since hospitals near Progressive Field had to prepare for a World Series as well — the Indians made it most recently in 1997.

Fortunately, hospitals in both Cleveland and Chicago have plenty of experience dealing with other large city events that have kept them on their toes over the last 19 and 71 years, respectively.

For instance, Cleveland hosted the Republican National Convention in July. "We are taking a lot of what we did to prep for the RNC in Cleveland this past summer and are applying that for the World Series," Bernard Boulanger, MD, executive vice president and chief clinical officer of MetroHealth, tells Becker's. MetroHealth Medical Center is roughly 4 miles from Progressive Field.

More specifically, MetroHealth's new 85-bed Critical Care Pavilion offers increased capacity, and the hospital is in constant communication with emergency medical services on game day.

Similarly, a Lutheran Hospital spokesperson cited the RNC experience and the Cleveland Cavaliers NBA Championship celebration parade in June as experiences that got them ready for the World Series. Lutheran Hospital is a Cleveland Clinic hospital located less than 2 miles from the Indians' stadium.

In Chicago, Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center is also drawing on past experience — like parades, bar crawls and St. Patrick's Day — to inform its World Series plan. The hospital, located in the heart of the Wrigleyville neighborhood and roughly 1 mile from Wrigley Field itself, plans to increase staffing of nurses, physicians, public safety officers and other key staff members for the World Series.

Advocate Illinois Masonic saw a 20 percent jump in emergency department patient volume after the final game of the National League Championship Series last weekend at Wrigley Field, according to Anna Scaccia, RN, director of the hospital's emergency department. The hospital expects a similar or greater boost in patient volume during and after this weekend's games.

Presence St. Joseph Hospital-Chicago, situated less than 2 miles from Wrigley Field in Chicago, is "aware of the emergencies associated with crowds gathering to enjoy large city events such as the…World Series; and will be available to anyone requiring emergency care," says James Chadd, MD, the hospital's chair of emergency medicine.

Whichever team comes out on top, the hospitals around the winning stadium are poised and prepared for the hordes of baseball fans.

"Being so close to Wrigley Field, we're rooting for the Cubs and are prepared to play an important role in keeping Cubs fans and our community safe and healthy!" Ms. Scaccia says.

Dr. Boulanger also backed his city's team, stating: "We are looking forward to helping provide medical care as needed for the championship parade!"

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