Mass gathering medicine: The Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games experience

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To investigate the nature and acuity of medical presentations of patrons and staff attending the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games (M2006) venues and festival live sites.

Design and setting

Retrospective case series chart audit of patients who were managed by St John Ambulance during the M2006.


Patients who presented requiring first-aid review or treatment at any of the 21 designated event venues or 16 live sites during their prescribed operating hours between 15 March 2006 and 26 March 2006.

Main outcome measures

Provisional diagnosis and ambulance transport to hospital.


A total of 3514 presentations occurred during the study period, of which 2279 (64.9%, 95% CI, 63.3%–66.4%) occurred at event venues. Headaches, soft tissue injuries, blisters and other wounds accounted for 64.1% (95% CI, 62.5%–65.73%) of presentations. A total of 303 patients were referred for further medical care, including 69 patients (1.96%, 95% CI, 1.54%–2.49%) who required transport to hospital via ambulance. Traumatic injuries accounted for 42.0% (95% CI, 30.5%–54.5%) of patients transported by ambulance to hospital. The patient presentation rate across all venues was 0.857 per 1000 patrons. The transport to hospital rate was 0.0186 per 1000 patrons.


The majority of first-aid presentations during the M2006 were of low acuity and treatment resulted in return of patrons to the event, with only a small number requiring ambulance transport to hospital.

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