Better Emergency Medical Assistance Should Be Provided At Marathons

May 07, 1999

(Medical rules are need in marathons in the United Kingdom)

Legally binding medical rules should be introduced for marathons run in the UK, write Phillip and Pauline Loyley in this week's BMJ. The parents of Anna Loyley, who collapsed and died as she crossed the finishing line of a half marathon, say that race organisers should be compelled to provide advanced life support at such events and they call upon the sports minister to take action. According to the Loyleys, currently the UK Athletics 98 rules do not stipulate the degree or quality of care that should be provided, nor do they specify the need for advanced life support or advanced cardiac life support, the role of medical staff or what is meant by emergency.

They report that their daughter collapsed on the finish line close to first aid staff who were equipped with a modern automatic external defibrillator. Evidence presented at the inquiry suggested that although the staff reached her within less than a minute they did not diagnose cardiac arrest or follow the correct defibrillator procedures, claim Mr and Mrs Loyley.

In France, medical rules are comprehensive and legally binding, say the authors. The French rules call for a high degree of mobility of a doctor skilled in resuscitation, paramedical ambulances and an effective means of radio communication.

They conclude that 70 athletes have died in the past ten years in the UK at such sporting events and that the "....current haphazard system....should not be allowed to continue".

Contact:

Phillip and Pauline Loyley, Bath, UK loyley.int@dial.pipex.com Better Emergency Medical Assistance Should Be Provided At Marathons Legally binding medical rules should be introduced for marathons run in the UK, write the parents of an athlete who recently collapsed and died as she crossed the finishing line of a half marathon. They conclude that 70 athletes have died in the past ten years in the UK at such sporting events and that the "....current haphazard system....should not be allowed to continue".
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BMJ

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