Why Professional Medical Risk Management is Essential! – The Matt G Story

During pre-production process, Immediate Assistant Events advocates detailed medical assessments (including full blood workup, Urinalysis and ECG testing) on the last 50-100 potential competitors be conducted to establish their suitability to participate in the likely activities within the production.

This initially involves a Paper Audit based on our many years of production experience and includes:

  • evaluation of confidential medical questionnaire completed by the competitor
  • a confidential examination by a local GP, and
  • a series of pathology and ECG tests developed to ensure that competitors are suitable for the rigours of the show.

This is later followed by a face-face pre-show examination by our own staff to certify the suitability of those last 2 dozen or so candidates hallmarked for participation on the show conducted over 2 days prior to filming being commenced.

All information is stored in our secure, online, confidential medical database and backed-up on a regular basis.

This process is complex and exacting and requires considerable coordination with the production contestant staff to ensure that those finally selected to progress are ready and to do so from the medical perspective.

For Season 1 of the NRL Rookie, we implemented this process and found several candidates who were unsuitable due to uncontrolled or pre-existing medical conditions.

In one case, that of Matt, we uncovered a rare and potentially life-threatening cardiac condition.

As a result of our rigorous processes, and luckily for this previously well 23 year old, we were able to then obtain a consultation with an interventional cardiologist who ratified our detection of the rare Wolff Parkinson White condition, in which the person’s heart has an aberrant electrical circuit which can allow it to race to, in his case, 270 beats per minute. Most healthy individuals can tolerate this for short periods of time, but if it recurs or is prolonged (as occurs with high exercise demands, including the requirements for this production) it can result in sudden , cardiac failure and immediate death.

Matt was doubly fortunate that not only was his condition detected by Immediate Assistants Events, we were able to have him subsequently treated, and he underwent a procedure to treat his condition 3 weeks before the start of the show, made a complete recovery and was able to take his place in the NRL Rookie starting line-up of 14.

Ultimately this story shows how good medical pre-emptive planning, based upon many years of television medical experience, can not only protect the production from selecting cast members with medical issues which can prevent their participation or force their withdrawal even after filming has begun but in this case can be responsible for saving a life.

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