Lessons from the Travis Scott catastrophe

While nobody can foresee a stampede, as we inch closer to the end of Travis 2021, here’s what organisers and visitors can keep in mind ahead of a huge gathering.

Published: 17th November 2021 09:43 AM  |   Last Updated: 17th November 2021 09:43 AM   |  A+A-

Concert, people

Image for representation

Express News Service

HYDERABAD:  The toll from the chaotic Travis Scott concert (Astroworld) has risen to 10. The catastrophe that took shape in Texas, USA, injured 300 others that fateful night. India is not new to tens of thousands of gathering at temples, rallies and concerts. There have been several mishaps that took the lives of many when a mob caused a catastrophe. While nobody can foresee a stampede, as we inch closer to the end of the 2021, here’s what organisers and visitors can keep in mind ahead of a huge gathering. 

Dr Sindhoora Rawul, consultant pulmonologist at Dr Rawul’s Pulmonary and Critical Care Centre in Amberpet, explains what happens during a stampede. “During such times, people could experience difficulty in breathing and this could turn fatal. The main reason is oxygen deprivation or suffocation. A shockwave through the crowd or a slip, can cause a fall, leading to injuries, and airway obstruction.” 

Dr Sindhoora Rawul, pulmonologist

She breaks it down further: Asphyxiation, also called asphyxia or suffocation, is when the body doesn’t get enough oxygen. Without immediate intervention, it can lead to loss of consciousness, brain injury or death. It’s a medical emergency.

Sometimes, anaphylaxis occurs in large gatherings through either food, a chemical inhalant or even an insect bite. “Worsening of existing asthmatics can occur as time runs out. The damaged ribs can puncture your lungs causing pneumothorax. This is why, once asphyxia occurs, suddenly you start sweating, experience severe shortness of breath, hyper-ventilating and lose consciousness.”

Dr Rawul lists some steps people can take during such an emergency. “Try giving the person an ‘oxygen therapy’. All you have to do is ensure the airway is not blocked. Tilt the person’s head, lift the chin and thrust the jaw. One can also attempt cardiopulmonary resuscitation. Then, immediately call the emergency helpline.”

The doc lays down a few precautionary measures individuals can take before they attend a large gathering: “Asthmatics must always carry their inhalers. Control your breathing and avoid screaming. Place your hands on your chest to avoid damage to the rib cage. Try to stay away from barriers. Be human and help each other.” 

Meanwhile, organisers must ensure proper utilisation of space, accessible emergency exits, determine the number of people, availability of an ambulance, chalk out a crowd management plan, train the staff.


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