Written by Vivian Lei
A full moon has no association with EMS activation patterns in the United States.
Why does this matter?
The field of medicine has its fair share of superstitions. A full moon has been thought to increase patient volume and acuity, although this has been largely debunked. What about EMS calls?
Full moon lunacy – a waning myth
Using data from the National Emergency Medical Services Information System (NEMSIS), a national database of U.S. EMS activations, all EMS calls from 2019 were examined. During a 3-day long full moon period, a daily average of EMS activations was computed and compared with daily averages for 3-day periods both 1 week before and after the full moon. A total of 8,415,412 EMS activations were included in the analysis, and 33% took place during full moon periods. There was no significant difference in daily average of EMS activations between full moon periods and non-full moon periods. There were also no significant differences in specific types of calls, including cardiac arrest, overdose, pregnancy-related emergencies, penetrating trauma, psychiatric emergency, traffic accident, or unspecified traumatic injury. Let this knowledge give you some solace as you head in for your next full moon shift.
Full moons are not associated with increases in emergency medical services (EMS) activations (911 calls) in the United States. Am J Emerg Med. 2022 Nov;61:227-228. doi: 10.1016/j.ajem.2022.07.044. Epub 2022 Jul 20.