Organizers defended the medical response but criticized bystanders for snapping pictures of a stricken Callum Hawkins, who keeled over two kilometers from victory. In temperatures nudging 30 degrees Celsius on the Gold Coast, the Scot wobbled and went down twice, lying prone for some time before help arrived.
Chief organizer Mark Peters said he was "distressed" to see Hawkins collapse, but he was "also concerned about the behavior of a small number of bystanders who chose to take images." He said this "was not in keeping with the spirit" of the Games.
TV commentators and viewers blasted Hawkins' wait for medical assistance, while many also criticized the those who took pictures.
Marathon world record-holder Paula Radcliffe tweeted that there were "big questions" for the organizing committee and medical staff. "That should never happen," the Briton said.
Australian winner Michael Shelley ran past the prone Hawkins just as help arrived. The Scot was taken to hospital but was not in a serious condition.
The Games have been regarded as Australia's chance to burnish its image for sportsmanship after a Test cricket cheating scandal which shocked the nation. The hosts ended the 11-day event, involving 71 nations and territories, with 80 gold medals, ahead of England's 45 and India's 26.