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 (521 Responses)
  1. vreyro linomit

    Thank you, I've just been searching for information about this subject for a long time and yours is the greatest I've found out till now. But, what about the bottom line? Are you certain about the source?


    January 18, 2021 at 12:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Coralie Teeters

    For most recent information you have to go to see internet and on the web I found this site as a best web page for most up-to-date updates.


    January 18, 2021 at 13:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. zortilonrel

    Hey, you used to write wonderful, but the last few posts have been kinda boringK I miss your tremendous writings. Past few posts are just a little bit out of track! come on!


    January 18, 2021 at 14:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. vreyro linomit

    I have been surfing online more than three hours lately, yet I by no means discovered any interesting article like yours. It is beautiful worth sufficient for me. Personally, if all web owners and bloggers made good content as you probably did, the web will likely be a lot more helpful than ever before. "I finally realized that being grateful to my body was key to giving more love to myself." by Oprah Winfrey.


    January 18, 2021 at 22:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. zortilonrel

    Some times its a pain in the ass to read what people wrote but this site is really user pleasant! .


    January 18, 2021 at 23:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. vreyro linomit

    Good post. I study one thing tougher on completely different blogs everyday. It should all the time be stimulating to learn content material from different writers and observe a bit something from their store. I’d favor to make use of some with the content material on my weblog whether or not you don’t mind. Natually I’ll give you a hyperlink on your web blog. Thanks for sharing.


    January 19, 2021 at 04:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. zortilo nrel

    I am only writing to make you understand of the wonderful discovery my princess obtained viewing your blog. She discovered too many pieces, with the inclusion of how it is like to have an incredible coaching style to have a number of people effortlessly master specific very confusing subject areas. You actually surpassed visitors' expectations. Thanks for supplying these beneficial, dependable, explanatory and easy thoughts on this topic to Julie.


    January 19, 2021 at 07:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Jess Henri

    Gracias a los tornos de cabezal móvil incorporados recientemente a nuestra cadena de producción, podemos fabricar series de piezas complejas y de tamaño reducido y realizar así un servicio completo a nuestros clientes sin necesidad de subcontratar otras empresas para estas labores.


    January 19, 2021 at 14:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Caryn Londagin

    AMEBA ofrece productos y servicios para el desarrollo de utillaje, mecanizado de piezas, maquinaria especial y soluciones en amarre, tanto para el sector aeronáutico, automoción y agrícola, así como para otros sectores, dentro del concepto de "llave en mano", incluyendo la puesta en marcha y asistencia final.


    January 19, 2021 at 15:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. zortilo nrel

    I?¦ve been exploring for a little bit for any high quality articles or blog posts in this sort of house . Exploring in Yahoo I finally stumbled upon this web site. Studying this information So i?¦m glad to convey that I have a very good uncanny feeling I discovered exactly what I needed. I so much for sure will make certain to do not fail to remember this web site and give it a look on a constant basis.


    January 19, 2021 at 16:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. useful source

    16639 655186I genuinely enjoyed this. It was extremely educational and helpful. I will return to examine on upcoming posts 430800

    January 20, 2021 at 05:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Simon Jehle

    I truly enjoy looking through on this site, it has got wonderful articles. "One should die proudly when it is no longer possible to live proudly." by Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche.


    January 21, 2021 at 01:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. zortilonrel

    I keep listening to the reports talk about receiving boundless online grant applications so I have been looking around for the most excellent site to get one. Could you advise me please, where could i get some?


    January 21, 2021 at 03:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Tricia Boeri


    January 21, 2021 at 08:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. zortilonrel

    Hey! I know this is somewhat off topic but I was wondering which blog platform are you using for this site? I'm getting fed up of WordPress because I've had issues with hackers and I'm looking at options for another platform. I would be awesome if you could point me in the direction of a good platform.


    January 22, 2021 at 02:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. online bmo banking

    722370 33619Youve actually written a extremely good quality post here. Thank you quite considerably 18619

    January 22, 2021 at 06:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. zortilo nrel

    I have recently started a website, the information you offer on this website has helped me tremendously. Thank you for all of your time & work.


    January 22, 2021 at 09:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. exness-es.site/

    370105 101551You produced some decent points there. I looked on the internet for that issue and located most individuals goes along with along together with your internet site. 50404

    January 22, 2021 at 11:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. vreyrolinomit

    Great blog you have here but I was curious about if you knew of any forums that cover the same topics discussed here? I'd really like to be a part of community where I can get comments from other knowledgeable people that share the same interest. If you have any recommendations, please let me know. Thank you!


    January 23, 2021 at 16:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. froleprotrem

    My developer is trying to persuade me to move to .net from PHP. I have always disliked the idea because of the expenses. But he's tryiong none the less. I've been using WordPress on various websites for about a year and am worried about switching to another platform. I have heard fantastic things about blogengine.net. Is there a way I can transfer all my wordpress posts into it? Any kind of help would be greatly appreciated!


    January 23, 2021 at 17:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. frolep rotrem

    Valuable information. Lucky me I found your site by accident, and I am shocked why this accident didn't happened earlier! I bookmarked it.


    January 23, 2021 at 18:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. zortilo nrel

    Sweet internet site, super design and style, very clean and use friendly.


    January 23, 2021 at 19:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. frolep rotrem

    I cling on to listening to the news broadcast speak about receiving boundless online grant applications so I have been looking around for the finest site to get one. Could you advise me please, where could i get some?


    January 23, 2021 at 21:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. vreyrolinomit

    It’s really a nice and helpful piece of info. I am glad that you shared this helpful info with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.


    January 23, 2021 at 21:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. vreyro linomit

    Hi my friend! I want to say that this post is amazing, great written and include almost all important infos. I would like to see extra posts like this .


    January 23, 2021 at 22:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. froleprotrem

    As soon as I discovered this website I went on reddit to share some of the love with them.


    January 24, 2021 at 06:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. vreyro linomit

    Along with almost everything which seems to be building within this specific subject material, all your opinions tend to be quite exciting. Having said that, I appologize, because I can not give credence to your entire theory, all be it exciting none the less. It appears to everyone that your comments are generally not completely validated and in reality you are generally your self not really fully confident of the argument. In any case I did take pleasure in reading it.


    January 24, 2021 at 07:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. vreyro linomit

    As a Newbie, I am permanently searching online for articles that can benefit me. Thank you


    January 24, 2021 at 08:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. froleprotrem

    Definitely believe that which you said. Your favourite reason seemed to be on the net the simplest thing to take into account of. I say to you, I definitely get annoyed while people think about issues that they plainly do not realize about. You controlled to hit the nail upon the highest and also defined out the whole thing with no need side-effects , folks can take a signal. Will probably be back to get more. Thank you


    January 24, 2021 at 08:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Petrina Zike

    Epígrafe 18.2.- Comercio al por mayor de toda clase de mercancías, exclusivamente dentro de las zonas y depósitos francos con productos en ellos consignados y que se limite exclusivamente al aprovisionamiento de buques extranjeros y españoles de gran cabotaje y altura, así como al de aeronaves extranjeras y españolas del servicio internacional, ya en forma directa ya a través de una previa exportación al extranjero.


    January 24, 2021 at 22:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Brigida Krissie

    Ponemos a disposición de nuestros clientes un presupuesto gratuito, sin compromiso y totalmente ajustable al bolsillo de cada cliente, porque no todos son iguales, por lo que ello supone una tarea difícil que es la de complacer a todos aquellos que confíen en nuestro servicio tecnico para frigorificos. No pierda el tiempo ni el dinero con otras empresas, le aseguramos y le damos total garantía de que sea el electrodoméstico que sea, la marca modelo del que disponga, tenemos a una amplia gama de profesionales especializados en todos y en cada uno de los diferentes áreas en las que le ofrecemos nuestro servicio tecnico de neveras.


    January 24, 2021 at 23:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. vreyro linomit

    Having read this I thought it was very informative. I appreciate you taking the time and effort to put this article together. I once again find myself spending way to much time both reading and commenting. But so what, it was still worth it!


    January 25, 2021 at 14:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. vreyro linomit

    Hello.This post was extremely fascinating, especially since I was looking for thoughts on this subject last week.


    January 25, 2021 at 18:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Bulk Mail for Me

    Asking questions are actually fastidious thing if you are not
    understanding something fully, except this piece of writing gives pleasant
    understanding yet.

    January 26, 2021 at 00:21 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Leave a Reply to Paul


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 »
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.