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July 18, 1980

Postmortem on Winter Olympics medical care

JAMA. 1980;244(3):224-225. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03310030006002

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Tomorrow the summer Olympic Games begin in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The United States, Japan, and some other key countries will not send participants.

Meanwhile, back in the United States, Olympic physicians are compiling their reports on the medical experience at the Winter Games in Lake Placid, NY. George G. Hart, MD, a Lake Placid-born family practitioner who was chairman of medical arrangements for that community's Olympic Organizing Committee, says a total of 2,537 "treatments" of athletes, spectators, and support personnel was recorded.

However, says Hart, those "treatments" require some sorting out. For example, the computer would have him believe that 14 fractured calcanei were treated during the games, but he has not seen that many broken heelbones in his entire practice. As it turns out, one person fractured a calcaneus and had 14 whirlpool treatments.

Hart, his vice-chairman Edward G. Hixson, MD, of Saranac Lake, NY, and