Concert Medicine

Concert Medicine: Spectrum of Medical Problems
Encountered at 405 Major Concerts

Poster-15-disaster-drillJEFF T. GRANGE, MD, STEVEN M. GREEN, MD, WARREN DOWNS, MD PHYSICIANS are increasingly called upon to organize medical support for mass gatherings such as commercial concerts. Currently individuals and organizations planning such support have little reliable information to assist them in determining what specific personnel and equipment are necessary to optimally support a specific music event. Mears and Batson1 have reported patient loads at general mass gatherings as ranging from 1.2 to 60 patients per ten thousand spectators (PPTT).  The 50-fold range of this projection substantially limits its usefulness as a planning tool, and furthermore it is uncertain whether these data are applicable to the unique characteristics of a commercial concert. Previous authors have described medical support at single specific concert events (Table 1), with patient loads ranging from 8 to 1,000 PPTT. The volume, acuity, and spectrum of pathology appear dependent on a number of variables, such as music type, concert location, audience age, concert length, audience size, crowd density, crowd movement, weather, indoor vs outdoor location, availability of drugs and/or alcohol, and the ‘‘collective mood.’’2–7 Only two studies have reviewed more than a single concert event.7,8 Erickson and colleagues noted that 48% of patients treated at five rock concerts admitted using alcohol or illicit drugs during the events.

The authors did not attempt to identify factors predictive of patient load. De Lorenzo and colleagues found the correlation between crowd size and patient volume at 25 concert events to be weak (r = 0.3). The mean patient loads reported by Erickson et al. and De Lorenzo et al. were 12 PPTT and 10 PPTT, respectively. To the best of our knowledge, no study has attempted to identify predictors of patient load at concert first-aid stations, and accordingly we reviewed five years of experience at five major concert venues. We wished to identify whether any of four factors (music type, overall attendance, temperature, and indoor vs outdoor location) were predictive of patient load (PPTT) per concert. We also wished to describe the range of patient loads and spectrum of chief complaints.

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