Emergency Medicine at Events

With Live 8 coming up, it’s interesting to learn of the preparations of the medical teams covering the events. From the Philadelphia Inquirer’s philly.com site:

“Triage on Parkway: Medical teams poised. ER staffing is up. Crews will roam Live 8, Fourth crowds.”

You could say Ted Robinson has helped people find religion at rock concerts.

“There was this one concert where this guy was tripping and he thought the lights in the lobby were signs from God and he wouldn’t leave,” said Robinson, director of Harmony Event Medicine in Eugene, Ore.

“So we got this big, bright flashlight, and we had his friend hold it over his head and walk him all the way back to his motel room.”

Such is the stuff of “event medicine,” where teams of medical and mental health workers descend upon rock concerts and raves, helping out with everything from Band-Aids to bad trips.

On the West Coast, it’s more about three-day festivals held in the middle of nowhere. Here on the East Coast, medical teams must handle throngs of up to a million in cramped spaces, but for hours, not days.

For this weekend’s Live 8 and Fourth of July events, a crew of more than 500 emergency medical and fire personnel are anticipating the usual – heat stroke, alcohol poisoning, and the occasional trauma case.

At Live Aid in 1985, with 100,000 people in JFK Stadium, almost 700 people required medical care, according to John Mariano, the emergency medical services director who oversaw the daylong concert. A typical rock concert usually generates about 200 medical cases, he said.

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