CJEM Articles: Samuel J. Gutman
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Adam Lund, Samuel J. Gutman, Sheila A. Turris
Background: We explore the health care literature and draw on two decades of experience in the provision of medical care at mass gatherings and special events to illustrate the complementary aspects of mass gathering medical support and disaster medicine. Most communities have occasions during which large numbers of people assemble in public or private spaces for the purpose of celebrating or participating in musical, sporting, cultural, religious, political, and other events. Collectively, these events are referred to as mass gatherings. The planning, preparation, and delivery of health-related services at mass gatherings are understood to be within the discipline of emergency medicine. As well, we note that owing to international events in recent years, there has been a heightened awareness of and interest in disaster medicine and the level of community preparedness for disasters. We propose that a synergy exists between mass gathering medicine and disaster medicine.
Method: Literature review and comparative analysis.
Results: Many aspects of the provision of medical support for mass gathering events overlap with the skill set and expertise required to plan and implement a successful medical response to a natural disaster, terrorist incident, or other form of disaster.
Conclusion: There are several practical opportunities to link the two fields in a proactive manner. These opportunities should be pursued as a way to improve the level of disaster preparedness at the municipal, provincial, and national levels.