11/30/2011 3:34PM

Hollywood: Jockeys' Guild rep eyes aid transport time


INGLEWOOD, Calif. – A delay in transporting injured jockey Daniel Vergara to a local hospital after he was injured on Saturday at Hollywood Park has prompted Darrell Haire, the local representative of the Jockeys’ Guild, to look into the matter and present the findings to the California Horse Racing Board at its next monthly meeting.

Vergara, 36, was injured when his mount, Waltzing With Blue, suffered catastrophic injuries in the fourth race on Saturday, causing Vergara to tumble to the turf. Vergara was attended to immediately by the paramedics who are on site at Hollywood Park, but after leaving the racecourse in a first ambulance, Vergara was transferred to another ambulance, called in as a backup, that then took him to nearby Centinela Hospital.

“We’re trying to find a protocol that works. We’ve gone from EMT’s,” Haire said, referring to emergency medical technicians, “to paramedics because the riders wanted someone immediately available who has more training if a life-threatening injury is involved.

“Vergara was handed off in the parking lot because his injuries were deemed not life-threatening. We just want to make sure that the most qualified people are in attendance, and if they need backup, they are there as quickly as possible.”

The ambulance that initially transported Vergara off the racecourse and to the handoff point at a remote site in the track’s parking lot could have gone directly to the hospital if Vergara needed quicker attention. But had that ambulance done so, that would have resulted in a lengthy delay to the race program, since no racing, or even morning training, can take place without an ambulance on site. And that ambulance now must be staffed by paramedics.

Haire had no issues with the competency of, or care provided by, the paramedics, but said he wants to make sure no delays would result if there is a dire emergency, and is seeking a smarter way to quickly and safely get riders to a hospital in all situations where hospital care is required.

This is the first meet that Hollywood Park has gone to paramedics for primary care for injured riders. Santa Anita and Del Mar previously had made the switch, also at the request of the jockeys.

“The rules are different all over the country, sometimes from state to state, sometimes from county to county, in terms of what paramedics can do, what EMT’s can do, as far as transporting patients to a hospital,” Haire said.