It's a Full Moon tonight! Will the ER be full? More fights? More bad behavior?

It's common around here for the staff to knowingly excuse everything that happens on the full moon, when it's full. Some take it seriously. Some don't.

I find it fun, same as upcoming Talk Like a Pirate Day is fun. But is it real? What does a skeptic say?

Tags: ER, full moon

Views: 119

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Even though I know it's coming more from intuition, than from rational analysis, I tend to notice an increase of complaints brought on by an acute exacerbation of stupidity around the full moon.
Nah, not real, just a reason to complain at work! When we had our last 'Big One' (earthquake) I remember that they staffed up and called in all of the obstetricians to deliver all of the babies they were certain would be born to all of the stressed mothers....we did not get any more than usual, even for the remainder of the week!
I forgot to add....arrrrgh (talk like a pirate!)matey!
Jean Marie,


Aye, the pirate's life is only for ye stout of heart! Thar's the truth 'n it.

Ye pirates can see treasure-bearing ships better by the full moon, but ye fog's better fer sneakin' up on 'm, I'll wager! Arrr!
Aye me heartie! Never doubt it, or I'm a dead man's dingy, I'll wager!
I went to Pub med and there are in fact MANY actual papers published about this. Predominantly, there's no such effect. Even the veterinarians get into it. There are a smattering of papers with tiny statistical blips of such an effect (seizures, cats & dogs,, but real increases are not what are reported. One study actually showed more Acute MI visits on a NEW Moon night!
This might make sense if our bodies responded to the daily tides. But that would mean an ER spike twice a day, not once a month. If there's any sort of correlation with the full moon, it would pretty much have to be because people noticed the moon was full and reacted psychologically, not because water rushed to their brains.
I'm pretty sure there's a spike in ER visits after a sizable earthquake. :)
Right, the full moon is not necessarily any closer. The moon's orbit around the Earth isn't circular, so it does get slightly closer and farther from the Earth each month, but since the Earth is moving around the sun, each full moon is in a different part of the moon's orbit, so some are closer and some are farther than usual. In any event, the moon's pull is very tiny here. The only reason the ocean "notices" it is that the ocean is so big; it's a tiny effect multiplied across a vast amount of water. Even then, relative to the diameter of the Earth, tides are very, very small. A few feet compared to 8,000 miles. It's something like 0.0001%.

I think suggestion explains it. I also suspect it's less commented upon during cloudy weather.
New moons are hard for people to notice, because a new moon is between the Earth and the sun. Even if you look for it, you're basically looking straight at the sun, so it's very hard to see (except during an eclipse, and then you only see it in silhouette). Even the very slim crescent moon the day after the new moon is hard to notice, because it sets just after the sun, so the sky is fairly bright. Werewolves, of course, don't really need to see the moon to be affected by it, so you can hang onto that. :)

Presumably tides affect mud puddles. It would be very difficult to measure at that scale, however, since it would likely be overshadowed by other effects, such as surface tension.
I work in the ER and to me everyday is crazy. I never know it is a full moon by the patient load until someone makes a comment that it is so busy because of the full moon. I then reply that it is busy everyday. Plenty of my co-workers would tell you different though. They are pretty superstitious. I try to reason with them and tell them they only remember it being bad because it is a full moon, not that the full moon caused the craziness. But it is usually to no avail.
When I was in pharmacy school, I did an externship at a major New York psychiatric hospital. During the 9 months I was there I was responsible for replenishing the on the ward drug cabinet. I could have told you, without looking at a lunar calendar, when there had been a full moon by the extra meds passed during a specific time period. Are there any specific studies done? I don't think so. It is mostly anecdotal evidence but there seems to be a lot of it.

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