[UPDATE] Man Collapses at Tom Petty Concert Last Saturday; Medical Help Did Not Arrive Until House Lights Came On

UPDATE (Oct. 5, 2:04 p.m.):
We just got word from Hoag Hospital Irvine that the man did survive and is now OK.

UPDATE (Oct. 5, 1:20 p.m.):

Here's a statement from Matt Curto, the general manager of Verizon Wireless Amphitheater:

“The on site medical team was dispatched immediately upon notification of the guest's condition and arrived within 6 minutes of the call. Orange County fire authority/paramedics arrived at the scene four minutes later and the guest was immediately transported to the hospital for further care.

Our guests' safety and well being is of paramount importance at every Live Nation event. We have skilled EMTs, police, and security staff deployed on site to immediately respond to any emergency situation. We work closely with local health and safety authorities to set the appropriate staffing levels for each event.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the fan and his family and we hope for a full recovery.”


Last Saturday, a man collapsed from a cardiac arrest at the Tom Petty concert at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater. Eyewitness Jerry Anderson was at Section 11, at the back of the amphitheater, seated in front of the yet-to-be-identified, 50something-year-old man.

Right before the encore, the man, who was attending the concert with his daughter, collapsed. Anderson said, “I'm guessing it was a heart attack.” Staff was called to the scene by ushers using their radios, but during the entire encore (three two whole songs!), no medical help arrived.

Anderson says it may have taken about 15 to 20 minutes for someone to attend to the man. “It was ridiculous, the wait,” Anderson said. After the house lights came on, the resident medical staff came to give him CPR. The man didn't respond, and it took another five minutes for paramedics to arrive. “He may have died, but I don't know what happened,” Anderson said.


The man, who was sitting three rows in front of the lawn, was carried
to the aisle, over the crowd on a board. The paramedics then gave him
CPR and used a defilibrator to revive him and hooked him to an IV, says
Anderson, “But he was unattended for so long, they couldn't really do
anything. Everyone was trying to help him but nobody really knew the
proper procedure. There were no professional on the scene for about 10
to 15 minutes, and that's a very long time. Who knows if they could've
done something had they been there eight, 10 minutes sooner.”

According to Greg McKeown of the Orange County Fire Authority,
paramedics were already on the scene attending to another patient when
they got the call at 10: 52 p.m., but the show was already over and it
took the paramedics some time to get the where the man was (close to the
top of the venue). The man, who did have a cardiac arrest, was eventually brought to Hoag
Hospital Irvine, but McKeown could not release his name or his present condition.

Christopher Victorio/SF Weekly


Anderson, who ushers shows in the Bay Area, goes to concerts all the
time, and says that when a medical emergency happens at venues he works
at such as the Greek Theatre, “someone's there within seconds.”

“I couldn't believe the amount of time it took to get someone there. It
was a horrible experience–of course it was a very large venue and it
took some time to get to where we were,” Anderson said, but added that the venue's layout made it difficult for paramedics to get to the man, as the crowd was filing out in the opposite direction. “I don't
know what [Verizon Wireless Amphitheater's] procedure is, but they were
not prepared for the emergency.”

A request for comment regarding the venue's standard response to emergencies such as this has been made to LiveNation, the company who
manages Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, but there has been no response
as of publishing time.

If you were there and saw what happened Saturday night, or know the man's name and condition, please e-mail lb***@oc******.com.

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