home
RSS
March 19th, 2009
05:39 PM ET

Head trauma is nothing to be taken lightly

By Val Willingham
CNN Medical Producer

The death of actress Natasha Richardson is tragic. A beautiful, vital 45-year-old goes for a ski lesson and falls. She gets up, declines medical care and goes back to her hotel. From there, the story takes a terrible turn. She becomes ill, and is transported to one hospital, then another and then finally to a third hospital near her home, where she dies two days later from brain injuries caused by an epidural hematoma. Her family, friends and fans are shocked. How can something as innocent as a ski fall  kill you? Because, neurologists say, the brain, although complex, is a delicate organ. It's very vulnerable and it needs to be taken seriously. And even a bump on the head can take its toll. Unfortunately, I know this all too well.

Thirteen years ago, my husband, daughter and I were in a terrible car accident on the Florida Turnpike. On our way to Orlando, our vehicle was hit by a driver who had fallen asleep at the wheel. Although we all had our seat belts on, our car swerved and hit a bridge embankment. My husband's head went out the side window, hitting the windshield and the concrete. When EMS workers got to us, it looked as if a battle had taken place: burning cars, debris. And because my husband had a major slice to his head, blood was everywhere. I was not hurt, and my daughter had a minor cut from flying glass. They loaded us into ambulances and took us to two different hospitals, my husband headed for the local trauma unit. He stayed two days in the hospital. They stitched up his forehead and sent him home, mentioning that he may want to see his doctor once he got back to Washington, D.C. And although the whole thing was terribly traumatic, we left Florida three days later, with my husband behind the wheel of a rental car.

Because he felt fine and there seemed to be no urgency to his injuries, my husband went back to work and made an appointment with his doctor to have a CT scan two months later. When he got off the table, the radiologist asked him to sit down and immediately called a neurologist. As the doctor viewed the images, his face turned pale and he asked my husband how long had it been since he was in the accident. My hubby shrugged and said, "A couple of months." The physician then told him not to move - he was going to schedule surgery immediately. It seemed my husband had developed a subdural hematoma that covered his entire brain. According to MayoClinic.com it's usually formed from head trauma that causes the brain to be shaken severely. Many children who suffer from shaken baby syndrome have these type of injuries. And unlike epidural hematomas, which bleed in the brain fairly quickly, my husband's injury developed slowly, causing a massive bruise to form. One false move could have given him a stroke, or caused permanent brain damage.

Although my husband made it through brain surgery without incident, there is a lesson here. Never take a head injury for granted. When doctors looked at his scans in the ER in Florida, they obviously did not see the bruising that later formed over his brain. Because the brain is loaded with large and small blood vessels, head injuries can cause all sorts of serious problems. Studies have shown that athletes who suffer even minor concussions can develop neurological problems later in life. The brain is nothing to be messed with.

Ironically, March is Brain Injury Awareness Month. And although brain injuries are not as common as, say, broken bones, they do happen and many have serious consequences. They need to be treated immediately. In this story, my husband got treated, before suffering brain damage. He was fortunate. God bless her, but Ms. Richardson was not.

Have you ever faced head trauma? Know someone who has? What happened? We'd like to hear about it.

Editor's Note: Medical news is a popular but sensitive subject rooted in science. We receive many comments on this blog each day; not all are posted. Our hope is that much will be learned from the sharing of useful information and personal experiences based on the medical and health topics of the blog. We encourage you to focus your comments on those medical and health topics and we appreciate your input. Thank you for your participation.


Next entry »
soundoff (413 Responses)
  1. Carleena Allred

    My son was walking to work last week. He was hit by a SUV head on going 40mph. He was unconscious for an hour and suffered severe injuries. Released after 4 hours, sent home alone, with a few meds, and tramadol for pain. I flew in two days later to find him not acting himself. He stays dazed and can't make since of simple written instructions. He has no medical insurance, what now do I do, he says he is fine, but I notice his difference. Please send suggestions.
    Worried Mom

    September 15, 2018 at 15:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. drbhupinder

    Hey..!
    That was a fascinating and informative article.
    Neurology Hospital in Hyderabad

    September 17, 2018 at 06:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. patrick

    i fell from a tree when I was a child with my head down, i was taken to the hospital but I was given an antibiotics without any examination or scan. am 31 years now and i experiencing cold and headache. it started when i was growing up, please could it be the falling from the tree?

    September 17, 2018 at 09:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. bloggar.org

    With the appearance of blockchain concept, development seems not close to over, and new processes and technologies manifest themselves. We make an effort to orchestrate the adoption of an entirely decentralized ecosystem with the help of distributed ledger technologies. This is a very stimulating time to be doing work in the blockchain area and as more individuals adopt this disruptive innovation, it will expectantly enable us to develop a further secure, balanced and open world.

    https://bloggar.org/

    September 20, 2018 at 16:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Flo Klaus

    I hit my head while boarding a vehicle. I didnt feel any pain that day. Its one week and it has began paining to an extend of having a stiff neck. Reach me out please. My email is floklausob@gmail.com

    September 24, 2018 at 14:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Pete Simpkin

    When I was 18 I was involved in a terrible motorbike accident when in collision with a car. I hit the car sideways
    Head on and when I hit the ground the massive force of the impact knocked my helmet completely off my
    Head. I was Knocked Out by this and remained Unconscious until I woke up in a hospital bed about 40 minutes
    Later.
    I only Know this because I had a friend on the back of my bike, who although injured was conscious and picked
    My helmet up from the road and told me later my helmet had come off in the accident. He called for help and
    said I was Unconscious. I only saw him again 3 to 4 hours after the accident.
    I don’t remember anything at all about the police or paramedics at all attending to me at the accident scene
    And cant recall ever being put in or taken out of an ambulance or being transferred onto a hospital bed. Much
    Of the accident is a complete blank.
    This was my first and only serious concussion ive had with a loss of consciousness.
    I will never fully recover from the accident as I have been left with a permanent disability in my right leg.
    I am glad to be alive though.

    October 22, 2018 at 05:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. ルイヴィトンバッグ

    スーパーコピーブランド激安ショッピングモール!
    ブランドスーパーコピー品
    ごとにぱっと見て全然違わないほどの外観を持ち、手触りも同じである。
    当店スーパーコピーブランド商品とともに、高品質と安心をお届けいたします!

    November 8, 2018 at 12:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. adidas mens adicolor high

    women nike kyrie sneaker 200 new arrivalpuma kids suede heart jewel sneakercheap air jordan 5 low dunk from above white metallic gold star midnight navy 1 2018 off white nikesonic yellow nike lebron 10 low
    adidas mens adicolor high http://www.dubuquefinearts.com/featured/adidas-mens-adicolor-high

    November 23, 2018 at 05:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Susannah Acosta-Todd

    In November,2016 on the 15th day of the month.O was riding my bicycle and I hit a bump in the ride causing me to fly over my bike and land directly on my head. I said my ear almost off damaged my knee. But more importantly my head I mean my while entire brain rocked a vicious hard knocked or rocked I should say . Side to side .Left to right four times .It hurt so bad I was almost passing out.I went to the doctors three days later. They did a cat scan. Three days later. But they said there was no hematose as far as there xray could
    read.this has really concerns me.

    December 6, 2018 at 06:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. puma suede noir lacet blanc

    News Group Newspapers Ltd8Knutson is a stats guru who has worked for BrentfordYou are trying to find.
    puma suede noir lacet blanc http://www.restaurantpizzeria-leparc.com/img.asp?gj=fr&hl=fr&shop=puma+suede+noir+lacet+blanc

    January 16, 2019 at 07:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Name*Holly

    I went out with my husband and grandson to get some wood. My husband was cutting down a tree not too big, but he didn't see me and it landed right on top of my head. I had some cushion, like a warm hoodie. It didn't knock me down, I was just a little shaken up, but felt ok. What should I do?

    January 22, 2019 at 20:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. bludiamondvapor

    explicandolabiblia, info-expa,
    bludiamondvapor http://www.bludiamondvapor.com/

    February 17, 2019 at 01:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Jennifer

    I was in a relationship and it ended very badly on Sept 3 2018.
    On that night I was assaulted by my boyfriend.
    He head butt me a few times right between the eyes.
    The last time he head butt me was so hard.
    It left an instant egg the size of a golf ball and I saw stars.
    About two months later I started having sharp, jabbing pain on the inside of my eye on the bone.
    The pain was on the top and bottom of the bone around my eye and the bridge of my nose.
    My vision instantly changed. It became blurry, seeing black spots and stars.
    My eyes feel like they both have a film covering them.
    I'm not sure if I should be concerned about anything.
    Such as, brain injury or anything else.

    March 20, 2019 at 16:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. DMC5

    The very next time I read a blog, Hopefully it doesn't disappoint me as much as this particular one. After all, Yes, it was my choice to read, however I genuinely believed you'd have something interesting to say. All I hear is a bunch of complaining about something that you can fix if you were not too busy searching for attention.

    https://t.co/Poo02JOrTu#deadcells #deadcellsbuilds #brutality #tactics #parrydeadcells #handoftheking
    Tips to help you survive Dead Cells 1.1 edition, which I find much more punishing although much more balanced. pic.twitter.com/7FM0AIoqz1— cybertechnews (@cybertechnews3) March 19, 2019https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

    May 2, 2019 at 16:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Berninifs

    pale or blue lips, fingernails, or skin pinpoint red spots on the skin problems with memory restlessness severe mood or mental changes sores, ulcers, or white spots on the lips or in the mouth swollen glands troubled breathing with exertion uncontrolled
    http://magdalenabus.tk/page/burning-lips-std/

    May 3, 2019 at 08:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. ping g400 hybrid review

    Where do you go after getting a creative writing degree?

    https://fairviewgolf.net/2018/12/18/driver-shaft-length-is-longer-or-shorter-better/

    July 1, 2019 at 07:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Crystal

    About 5 years ago I was the only 1 home in my apt...I had just woken up..it was about 6:30 a.m...I walked out of my room & into the hallway...I heard loud cracks & sounded like some 1 was knocking loud in my door..then it hit me...I'm getting broken into...right now!!!! I stood their in my hallway in shock...2 people came in after busting my door down...they had 1 (Barbell) with them..the 40 pound rods that you bench press with...they seen me ...and quickly started hurting me over the head with it...blood sprayed everywhere...all over my walls...I was hit with it about 6 times...full force...surprisingly I was still ok and standing and walking after that...I went to the hosp. 45 mind later when they got their for me...in the mean time...I had to control the bleeding some how...so I draped my head up in a clean shirt then a clean towel...my hair is dark brown & coming home from the hospital...it was Ted from all the blood...they did not wash me up..just my deep wounds..I got 17 staples and the rest stiches...they didn't CT scan me...plus I had a few more head dramas in the last 4 year's on top of that...I was kicked in the head by 2 big men ...I passed out...when I woke up I couldn't hardly see and I couldn't talk right for awhile...then I went through other dv issues...that had me suffering from head trauma...I just finally got a CT scan...I left...it was taking too long...this was 3 days ago...I need to see my results but I'm so scared...

    July 31, 2019 at 18:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Yong Zeiger

    What i do not realize is in fact how you are not actually much more well-liked than you may be right now. You are so intelligent. You already know thus significantly when it comes to this topic, made me personally consider it from so many various angles. Its like men and women don't seem to be involved except it is something to do with Girl gaga! Your own stuffs great. At all times take care of it up!

    https://piggo.wikitechguru.com/2019/09/02/laptops-under-500-reviews/

    September 4, 2019 at 21:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. filler.isiah@hotmail.com

    Dear Sir

    How Are You Today?

    Sorry For distress You And Owner Website..

    You Website Must Keep Going cnn.com..

    This is a definitely easy internet traffic system, One-Click Traffic System

    This Traffic come From Facebook,Twitter , Social Media Etc...

    Check Here : https://createsplashpages.com/splash.php?id=5008

    get Instant entrance And Jut Put You colleague pick The alternative Traffic Source And with Can Put In Keyword To get Traffic.

    You Never See This Secreat, If You Miss You Will Never Know

    Traffic Fbook Marketing

    IG : https://www.instagram.com/romingsongoh/

    sent by iphone

    September 17, 2019 at 03:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Keith Bearman

    Thank you So much

    http://www.windowsinformer.com/

    October 18, 2019 at 06:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. ブランド偽物コピーN級品

    財布激安代引き販売店,スーパーコピー時計の激安老舗.!
    国内外No.1時計コピー工房,アフターサービスも自ら製造したスーパーコピー時計なので、技術力でお客様に安心のサポー トをご提供させて頂きます。
    スーパーコピー 代引きN品をご 購入の方は、こちらへ.
    弊社は正規品と同等品質のコピー品を低価で お客様に提供します!
    すべての商品は品質2年無料保証です。100%実物写真ですし、品質が完璧です!"スーパーコピー
    ブランド財布激安
    ブランド偽物コピーN級品

    October 21, 2019 at 12:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Patrice Trischitta

    Many thanks for discussing this information within this wonderful weblog. i will share the next few paragraphs in my small facebook be the cause of my girlfriends

    https://www.voxmedia.com/users/hom897643

    October 23, 2019 at 17:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Gabrielle Lauryn

    On ne doit pas mettre sa faux dans le ble d'autrui. https://www.cialis20.fr Na 2 S0 3, 13.2 Gm. of the latter will be required.

    December 6, 2019 at 05:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Myrle Merissa

    On ne saurait lui dire pis que son nom. https://www.cialis20.fr

    December 6, 2019 at 05:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Vernetta Delcie

    Quand on me parle d'une femme cultivee, je l'imagine avec des carottes dans les oreilles et du cerfeuil entre les doigts de pied. https://www.cialis20.fr

    December 6, 2019 at 05:15 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Leave a Reply to Lisa


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.

Next entry »
Advertisement
About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.