An analysis of medical care at mass gatherings

Arthur B. Sanders, Elizabeth Criss, Peter Steckl, Harvey W. Meislin, John Raife, Douglas Allen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

102 Scopus citations


Emergency medical care at public gatherings is haphazard at best and dangerous at worst. The Arizona chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians, through the Chapter Grant Program, studied the level of medical care provided at public gatherings in order to develop guidelines for emergency medical care at mass gatherings. The study consisted of a survey of medical care at 15 facilities providing events for the public. The results of these surveys showed a wide variation of medical care provided at mass events. Of the 490 medical encounters reviewed, 52.2% were within the realm of care of paramedics, but not basic emergency medical technicians. The most common injuries/illnesses were lacerations, sprains, headaches, and syncope. Problems noted included poor documentation and record keeping of medical encounters, a tendency for prehospital care personnel to make medical evaluations without transport or medical control, and variability of care provided. Based on this survey and a literature review, guidelines for medical care at mass gatherings in Arizona were determined using an objective-oriented approach. It is our position that event organizers have the responsibility of ensuring the availability of emergency medical services for spectators and participants. We recommend that state chapters or National ACEP evaluate the role of emergency medical care at mass gatherings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)515-519
Number of pages5
JournalAnnals of emergency medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1986


  • medical care, mass gatherings

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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