Marathons and delays in emergency medical care

Government and community leaders often tout the economic benefits that come with hosting major marathons. Thousands of runners and visitors from around the world flock to the events, generating millions of dollars in tourism revenue for local businesses.

However, a new study may show that these boons to city economies may also come with burdens. Similar to parades and protests, marathons require road closures near the route. These and other disruptions impact local residents, particularly those in need of emergency medical care.

“Delays in Emergency Care and Mortality during Major U.S. Marathons,” is a 2017 academic study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Results revealed that on marathon days before noon, ambulances took longer to get patients to hospitals.

Researchers excluded actual race participants from the 11 largest U.S. marathons and focused on patients aged 65 and older. The subjects studied were Medicare recipients with multiple preexisting conditions and suffering from heart attacks and other serious cardiac issues.

The analysis covered 1,145 visits between 2002 and 2012 to marathon-affected hospitals on race days and 11,074 visits to the same hospitals five weeks before and five weeks after marathons.

  • Ambulance travel time in marathon-affected areas was 4.4 minutes or 32 percent longer, on average
  • No notable differences existed in number of miles ambulances drove on marathon days versus non-marathon days
  • On marathon days, 28.2 percent of elderly adults who suffered serious cardiac issues died within 30 days compared to 24.9 percent with the same health problems on non-marathon days.
  • Rates of acute heart attacks with concurrent cardiac arrest were twice as high among Medicare recipients hospitalized on marathon dates versus those hospitalized on non-marathon dates

The combination of road closures and delays in care on marathons days may have increased the likelihood of death from what could have been treatable medical issues.

Determining the responsible party in any potential wrongful death claim requires the help of an experienced personal injury attorney.

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Steven H. Dorne

Attorney Steven H. Dorne

Attorney Steven H. Dorne is an accomplished lawyer who practices in state and federal courts in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. He brings more than 30 years of experience and a long record of success to each case. His law practice is distinguished by careful preparation and thorough analysis of each case...

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