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Mud, hallucinogenic mushrooms caused health problems, too
MANCHESTER, Tenn. ? Organizers say this year's festival was the hottest ? in terms of temperature ? in Bonnaroo's three-year history. The heat and intense sunlight sent hundreds of people into the 10 medical tents on the 700-acre site, but final numbers weren't available last night.
''We're still going through all of the records,'' spokesman Ken Weinstein said.
Registered nurse and paramedic John Wright on Sunday said most of the people he had seen had heat-related injuries such as heat exhaustion. First medical staff gave patients fluids by mouth, but they gave more severely dehydrated patients intravenous fluids.
Friday was the hottest day, with a high of 91 degrees and had the most patients with heat-related problems. Wright said as many as 20 people had been in the festival's main medical tent at the same time on IV fluid.
Saturday's rain brought cooler temperatures, but it also brought mud. People wearing sandals showed up with blisters and cuts on their feet.
On Sunday, Michelle Arsenault of Phoenix, Ariz., was being treated for wounds on the bottoms of both her big toes. They had split open from being wet all day, she said, and she had a rash on her legs.
''My first and last Bonnaroo,'' she said, explaining that the festival was just too big to be fun.
Tullahoma family physician Dr. Olan Kemp, who was staffing an on-site medical tent Sunday, said he had seen a number of patients who were severely disoriented after taking hallucinogenic mushrooms. There's no treatment, so doctors simply monitor them to make sure they're safe until the mushrooms are out of their system.
''A lot of times they're picked up naked out in a field,'' Kemp said. ''They have a tendency to get naked when they're on mushrooms.''
Kemp said medical staff also saw broken bones and asthma flare-ups, and that as many as 50 people had been sent to the hospital in an ambulance during a 12-hour shift.
Police say drugs may be to blame for the deaths of two festival goers over the weekend. The two deaths are the first in the event's history. (See related story)
Festival organizer Rick Farman said that the goal at Bonnaroo was to provide a safe environment. ''You never want something like that to happen,'' he said of the deaths. ''These are very sad occurrences.''