Upstate Emergency Physicians, Nurses Provide Care at the State Fair
Chris C. Knutsen, MD, MPH, left, and Stan Goettel, MS, EMT-P, are among the Upstate employees who work at the infirmary on the State Fairgrounds during the run of the fair, which ends Sept. 4.
The New York State Fair Infirmary is seeing cases that are more serious than in past years’ fairs, according to Chris Knutsen, MD, MPH, a physician in the Emergency Department at Upstate University Hospital who sees patients at the fair. Various Upstate emergency medicine nurses, physicians and health care professionals staff the infirmary.
At this year’s fair, the infirmary has already treated dire cases including respiratory arrest, cardiac events and a drug overdose. The fair will conclude its 13-day run on Monday, Sept. 4.
Typically, heat-related illness has been among the most common reasons for visiting the fair infirmary, but the cool temperatures this year are proving to be easier on fairgoers. Physicians are seeing the usual insect bites, asthma attacks, abnormal blood sugar levels, dehydration and cuts and scrapes. Most conditions can be treated at the infirmary, but ambulances are on stand-by in case hospital treatment is necessary.
The infirmary, which is staffed by Upstate medical experts, operates from about 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., during the fair, though emergency medical treatment is available 24 hours a day. The facility treats not only fairgoers, but also those who work at the fair’s concessions, rides and other attractions.
Located behind the Horticulture Building, the infirmary is about 20,000 square feet, and includes a waiting room, triage area and 22 beds.
In addition to being staffed by Upstate attending physicians, Upstate offers opportunities to work at the infirmary for its emergency medicine residents and individuals in its paramedic-training program.
Upstate officials say the infirmary is akin to a small hospital for a community that averages about 70,000 citizens a day.
The number of infirmary visits during the New York State Fair over the years is listed below: