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SOUTH-CENTRAL : Hospital to Increase L.A. Marathon Staff

March 05, 1995

Orthopaedic Hospital, which for 10 years has provided race-day medical care for Los Angeles Marathon participants, plans to increase its team of doctors and other care givers at this year's 26-mile event to accommodate the record number of entrants.

With more than 20,000 runners expected to take part in the March 5 event, the hospital will double its medical support staff to 300.

"We want to make sure we're prepared for the worst," said Dr. Steven Simons, who is coordinating the hospital's efforts.

Doctors, physical therapists and other medical staff will staff 10 makeshift clinics along the race route and a five-tent acute care facility at the finish line.

Free treatment will be offered for minor ailments such as sore muscles and more serious conditions such as dehydration and elevated body temperatures.

"We've saved lots of lives over the years," said hospital spokeswoman Tracy Bechtold.

In addition, a group of roving ham radio operators will help coordinate emergency services by alerting paramedics to the location of stricken runners.

The marathon, which starts and ends at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, cuts through such areas of Los Angeles as Downtown, Echo Park, Hollywood and the Crenshaw district.

The 78-year-old medical center, which specializes in bone, nerve and muscle disorders, first provided sporting-event medical care during the 1984 Olympics.

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