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Love Parade 2010: Patient care during a tragedy

More than 6000 attendees of the Love Parade 2010 in Duisburg required medical care. The mass panic in a narrow stretch of tunnel led to 21 dead and more than 400 injured, some seriously. The emergency physician Ole Ackermann of the Duisburg Medical Center and his coauthors present an assessment of the medical care provided. Rather than focusing on the treatment administered to those who later died, the authors give an overview of the number, severity and urgency of treatment as a whole. They also examine the measures taken in hospitals and formulate recommendations for future mass events (Dtsch Arztebl Int 2011; 108[28-29]: 483-9).

Ackermann et al. evaluated patient data from Duisburg's hospitals. Of the 250 000 people who attended the Love Parade, 5600 required treatment at first-aid posts and 473 in hospital emergency rooms. 41% of emergency patients were admitted. Six of every ten patients required surgery, around 40% required internal medical care, and a minority of 8% required psychiatric treatment. Of those who survived the tragedy, approximately 48% were classified as having minor injuries, the same proportion as moderately injured, and another 19 patients as seriously injured. The main problems treated were abuse of psychoactive substances, fractures, internal and external wounds, and shock in those who were seriously injured.

After news of the mass panic was received, the 1600 members of auxiliary staff were increased to 4000. The peak burden on hospitals was up to 20 new patients per hour and occurred between two and three hours after the mass panic.

On the basis of their results, the authors conclude that the care provided to patients, at least by hospitals and emergency services, was sufficient. In the opinion of Ackermann et al., the essential problems involved in providing medical care for mass events can be dealt with through targeted, structured preparation and efficient emergency plans that allow even for unexpected events.


Contact: Dr. Ole Ackermann
Deutsches Aerzteblatt International

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