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 (1,419 Responses)
  1. rv repair santa fe


    May 7, 2021 at 06:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Forklifts Orange County


    May 7, 2021 at 09:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Wine Company Near Me


    May 7, 2021 at 09:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. chloroquine new zealand

    chloroquine https://chloroquineorigin.com/ chloraquine

    May 7, 2021 at 11:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. land for sale near me


    May 7, 2021 at 15:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. arechin

    choloriquine https://chloroquineorigin.com/ anti-malaria drug chloroquine

    May 7, 2021 at 15:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. rv interior remodeling

    This blog was... how do you say it? Relevant!! Finally I have found something that helped me. Thanks a lot!


    May 7, 2021 at 20:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Digital Marketing Contractor

    Good write-up. I absolutely appreciate this site. Thanks!


    May 7, 2021 at 23:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. rv furniture store

    An outstanding share! I have just forwarded this onto a friend who has been doing a little research on this. And he in fact ordered me breakfast because I found it for him... lol. So let me reword this.... Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending time to discuss this subject here on your internet site.


    May 7, 2021 at 23:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Digital Marketing Associations

    Having read this I thought it was rather informative. I appreciate you finding the time and energy to put this content together. I once again find myself spending way too much time both reading and leaving comments. But so what, it was still worth it!


    May 8, 2021 at 02:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Social Media Marketing Associations


    May 8, 2021 at 02:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Digital Marketing Help

    This excellent website certainly has all of the info I wanted about this subject and didn’t know who to ask.


    May 8, 2021 at 03:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Content Marketing Agencies

    Very good article! We are linking to this particularly great content on our website. Keep up the great writing.


    May 8, 2021 at 06:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Video Marketing Program

    An interesting discussion is definitely worth comment. I believe that you ought to write more about this subject, it might not be a taboo matter but usually folks don't discuss such topics. To the next! Best wishes!!


    May 8, 2021 at 13:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Internet Marketing Services California

    I’m amazed, I have to admit. Rarely do I encounter a blog that’s equally educative and amusing, and without a doubt, you've hit the nail on the head. The issue is something not enough men and women are speaking intelligently about. I'm very happy that I stumbled across this in my hunt for something regarding this.


    May 8, 2021 at 14:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. aftermarket installation shops near me

    This is a topic that is near to my heart... Cheers! Where are your contact details though?


    May 8, 2021 at 14:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Video Marketing Job

    Oh my goodness! Impressive article dude! Thank you, However I am going through problems with your RSS. I don’t know the reason why I am unable to join it. Is there anyone else having the same RSS issues? Anybody who knows the answer will you kindly respond? Thanx!!


    May 8, 2021 at 15:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Social Media Marketing Videos


    May 8, 2021 at 16:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Google Marketing Programs


    May 9, 2021 at 01:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Seo Marketing Company Near Me

    An outstanding share! I have just forwarded this onto a co-worker who had been conducting a little research on this. And he in fact ordered me lunch due to the fact that I found it for him... lol. So let me reword this.... Thank YOU for the meal!! But yeah, thanks for spending the time to discuss this topic here on your blog.


    May 9, 2021 at 12:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. RV Remodel Orange County

    I used to be able to find good info from your articles.


    May 9, 2021 at 12:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Social Media Marketing Service


    May 9, 2021 at 13:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. RV Flooring California

    Having read this I thought it was very informative. I appreciate you finding the time and energy to put this short article together. I once again find myself personally spending a lot of time both reading and posting comments. But so what, it was still worthwhile!


    May 9, 2021 at 18:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Internet Marketing Services


    May 9, 2021 at 19:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. ouiSU2pQAx

    769759 571493Excellent humans speeches and toasts, possibly toasts. are hands down transferred at some time by means of party and expected to turn into really funny, amusing not to mention educational inside the mean time. finest man wedding speeches 304271

    May 9, 2021 at 23:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Internet Marketing Experts Near Me


    May 10, 2021 at 15:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Content Marketing Companies


    May 10, 2021 at 15:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Google Marketing Consultant


    May 10, 2021 at 18:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Seo Marketing Deal

    This site definitely has all the info I wanted about this subject and didn’t know who to ask.


    May 10, 2021 at 20:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Social Media Marketing Help


    May 11, 2021 at 04:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Local Marketing Ideas

    You have made some good points there. I looked on the web to find out more about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this website.


    May 11, 2021 at 07:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Content Marketing Pictures


    May 11, 2021 at 08:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Local Marketing Associations


    May 11, 2021 at 10:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Internet Marketing Firm Near Me

    Hi there! I just want to give you a big thumbs up for your great info you've got right here on this post. I am returning to your blog for more soon.


    May 11, 2021 at 11:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Digital Marketing Events Near Me


    May 11, 2021 at 12:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Content Marketing Companies

    After exploring a number of the blog posts on your website, I honestly like your way of writing a blog. I saved it to my bookmark website list and will be checking back in the near future. Please visit my website as well and tell me how you feel.


    May 11, 2021 at 12:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. https://mbee.com.vn/

    Hi to all, how is everything, I think every one is getting more from this
    web page, and your views are nice designed for new users.

    May 11, 2021 at 14:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Internet Marketing Contractors


    May 11, 2021 at 14:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Content Marketing California

    Can I simply say what a comfort to find somebody who really understands what they're talking about on the web. You certainly realize how to bring an issue to light and make it important. A lot more people really need to look at this and understand this side of your story. I can't believe you're not more popular since you most certainly have the gift.


    May 11, 2021 at 14:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Content Marketing Experts

    Very nice article. I absolutely appreciate this site. Continue the good work!


    May 11, 2021 at 18:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. Digital Marketing Programs

    Your style is unique in comparison to other people I've read stuff from. I appreciate you for posting when you've got the opportunity, Guess I'll just book mark this page.


    May 11, 2021 at 18:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. rv mechanics near me


    May 12, 2021 at 00:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. remodel center

    Hey there! I just would like to give you a big thumbs up for your great information you have got here on this post. I am returning to your website for more soon.


    May 12, 2021 at 00:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. RV Paint Shop Near Me

    Your style is very unique in comparison to other people I've read stuff from. Many thanks for posting when you've got the opportunity, Guess I will just bookmark this page.


    May 12, 2021 at 00:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. RV Leak Los Angeles


    May 12, 2021 at 00:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. RV Remodeling Near Me


    May 12, 2021 at 01:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. store xnxx


    May 12, 2021 at 01:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. interstate collision center

    That is a really good tip especially to those fresh to the blogosphere. Short but very precise info… Thank you for sharing this one. A must read article!


    May 12, 2021 at 02:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. RV Body Shop Near Me

    Howdy, I do think your blog may be having browser compatibility problems. Whenever I look at your blog in Safari, it looks fine however, when opening in I.E., it has some overlapping issues. I just wanted to provide you with a quick heads up! Aside from that, wonderful blog!


    May 12, 2021 at 02:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. oc collision

    Right here is the perfect web site for everyone who wishes to find out about this topic. You realize so much its almost tough to argue with you (not that I actually would want to…HaHa). You definitely put a new spin on a topic which has been written about for a long time. Excellent stuff, just wonderful!


    May 12, 2021 at 06:15 | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28

Leave a Reply to Elbert Shader


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.