Hospital ER doubles as set for country artist Chris Stapleton video shoot

Film crew and emergency room personnel aren’t often in the same space, but when country music star Chris Stapleton used the TriStar Portland (TN) emergency room as back- drop for a video shoot, the worlds of entertainment and healthcare collided for just a little bit.

Stapleton’s song “Fire Away” speaks to mental illness, and the video’s story arc follows a husband and wife’s journey as she harms herself and then is taken to the hospital, where she dies of her injuries.

For the hospitalization part of the story, Stapleton and his team wanted an authentic setting. The production team at Tiny Terror Productions went to city and hospital officials and got the green light.

“Everyone was very helpful and gracious,” says Jennifer Rothlien, producer. “The EMS team and hospital staff was wonderful to work with; we knew it was a working ER, and we were told up front that they’d help us in every way unless patients came in. We know that safety and health is first, so we agreed to step aside if need be.”

High-quality ER is backdrop

Chris Stapleton nurse ER“The production team and Sumner County EMS used TriStar Portland’s ambulance vestibule to get footage of a patient being transported in the ER on a stretcher, and then they used the ER’s trauma/code room, which is designed to provide the best possible care for behavioral health patients,” says Sarah Adell, marketing coordinator for TriStar Hendersonville Medical Center and TriStar Skyline Medical Center. “TriStar Portland allowed the production company to shoot in this room so what was shown in the music video accurately portrays what would happen in the event of a behavioral health patient coming into an ER. We wanted the surroundings to be clinically accurate.”

The filming crew wanted to shoot at the facility last so they wouldn’t disrupt any patient care.

“The actors and actresses were all in the one trauma room, and at a high-volume point in the evening, patients were in seven of the eight rooms,” Adell says. “If a patient had come in, we would have had to temporarily stop filming until the patient had received care, as that is our priority. Fortunately, that did not happen.”

The ER staff also pitched in with some behind-the-scenes advice during shoot.

“They were using some fake blood on the woman who was the focal point, and so our emergency services manager, Colby Carroll, told them what she would look like from her injuries if it were a real-life situation,” Adell explains. “They were told what our doctors would be saying, and what kind of care we would be giving, if a behavioral-health patient came in like that, so they were able to be very realistic from the moment she was rolled in the doors.”

Actor Ben Foster, who played the husband in the video, had kind words for the TriStar Portland ER staff and Sumner County EMS first responders he worked with during the shoot, saying that what they do is “much harder than my job of portraying it in film.”TriStar Portland’s emergency services director Melony Scott, who was on-hand during filming, says the video was “spot on.”

“Unfortunately, there are people suffering from mental illness who feel hopeless and helpless and decide they have no other choice than to end their life,” she says.

“When EMS responds to a call in that situation, this video portrays exactly how we receive those patients and, too often, the nal outcome. That happens every day around the country — it’s real life.”

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