Doctors are asked to provide medical cover at increasing numbers of events such as football matches, marathons, air shows, and music festivals. Neil Dignon and Stephen Hearns explain the hard work behind the glamour of event medicine
Medical services at events are mainly concerned with assessing and treating minor injuries and medical conditions. This allows people to return to the event with minimal delay and minimises any overload on the local permanent medical facilities. Medical services also have a role in resuscitating seriously ill and injured patients on site and ensuring safe transfer to hospital. In the event of mass casualties the event doctor has a key role in major incident management. Guidelines for providing medical services at events are described in The Event Safety Guide and Guide to Safety at Sports Grounds.12
Major events often generate crowds as large as the population of a moderately sized town. Medical problems are not simply likely but inevitable. The frequency and type of medical conditions encountered varies according to the type of event and the crowd profile.
Exacerbations of pre-existing medical problems of crowd members (such as asthma, epilepsy,