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. mobile rv repair los angeles


    May 27, 2021 at 20:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Digital Marketing Near Me

    Good post. I am facing some of these issues as well..


    May 28, 2021 at 00:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. RV Fiberglass Orange County


    May 28, 2021 at 00:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. RV Dashboard Orange County


    May 28, 2021 at 02:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. RV Couches Riverside

    Oh my goodness! Amazing article dude! Thank you, However I am going through difficulties with your RSS. I don’t know why I can't join it. Is there anybody else having the same RSS issues? Anybody who knows the answer can you kindly respond? Thanks!!


    May 28, 2021 at 02:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. bus mechanic near me


    May 28, 2021 at 03:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. RV Bathroom California

    Howdy! I just would like to offer you a big thumbs up for the great info you've got here on this post. I am coming back to your website for more soon.


    May 28, 2021 at 07:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Video Marketing Firms


    May 28, 2021 at 08:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. RV Sound System Orange County

    Nice post. I learn something totally new and challenging on sites I stumbleupon on a daily basis. It will always be useful to read content from other authors and practice a little something from their sites.


    May 28, 2021 at 13:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. kenworth shop near me

    After looking at a few of the blog articles on your blog, I really like your technique of blogging. I saved it to my bookmark webpage list and will be checking back soon. Please visit my web site too and tell me your opinion.


    May 28, 2021 at 16:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. bay door repair

    Excellent post. I am dealing with many of these issues as well..


    May 28, 2021 at 21:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. repair rv toilet


    May 29, 2021 at 02:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Sprinter Alignent Repair


    May 29, 2021 at 03:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Sprinter Van Inside Computer Repair Shop


    May 29, 2021 at 03:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. vach ngan compact

    Great blog you have here.. It's difficult to find excellent writing like yours these days.
    I honestly appreciate people like you! Take care!!

    May 29, 2021 at 03:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. https://mbee.com.vn/dia-chi-ban-vach-ngan-ve-sinh-compact-tai-ho-chi-minh/

    Right here is the right web site for everyone
    who wishes to find out about this topic. You understand so much its almost hard to
    argue with you (not that I actually will need to…HaHa).
    You certainly put a new spin on a subject which has been discussed for a long time.
    Wonderful stuff, just wonderful!

    May 29, 2021 at 04:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Truck Wrap Shop Near Me

    Oh my goodness! Impressive article dude! Thank you, However I am having issues with your RSS. I don’t understand why I can't subscribe to it. Is there anyone else getting similar RSS issues? Anyone who knows the answer can you kindly respond? Thanx!!


    May 29, 2021 at 05:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Truck Body Shop Near Me

    This site was... how do I say it? Relevant!! Finally I've found something which helped me. Thanks!


    May 29, 2021 at 05:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Semi Truck Restoration

    May I just say what a comfort to find somebody that genuinely understands what they're talking about on the internet. You actually understand how to bring a problem to light and make it important. More people ought to read this and understand this side of the story. It's surprising you are not more popular since you definitely have the gift.


    May 29, 2021 at 05:46 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Camper Van Conversion Shop Near Me


    May 29, 2021 at 06:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Isuzu Truck Repair Shop


    May 29, 2021 at 09:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. SEO Marketing Agency


    May 29, 2021 at 14:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Utility Truck Repair Shop Near Me

    Hi there! I just want to give you a big thumbs up for your excellent information you've got here on this post. I am coming back to your website for more soon.


    May 29, 2021 at 18:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Commercial Truck Repair Shop


    May 29, 2021 at 23:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Hino Truck Repair Shop

    This is a topic that is close to my heart... Cheers! Exactly where are your contact details though?


    May 29, 2021 at 23:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Luxury Box Truck Shop


    May 30, 2021 at 01:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Box Truck Mechanic

    After looking over a handful of the blog posts on your web site, I truly like your way of writing a blog. I added it to my bookmark site list and will be checking back soon. Please check out my website too and tell me how you feel.


    May 30, 2021 at 02:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Box Truck Wrap Shop

    I’m amazed, I must say. Seldom do I come across a blog that’s both educative and amusing, and without a doubt, you've hit the nail on the head. The issue is an issue that too few folks are speaking intelligently about. I'm very happy I found this during my hunt for something relating to this.


    May 30, 2021 at 03:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Get More Info

    Good article and right to the point. I don't know if this is really the best place to ask but do you folks have any thoughts on where to employ some professional writers? Thanks in advance 🙂


    May 30, 2021 at 11:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Semi Truck Wrap Shop


    May 30, 2021 at 15:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Social Media Marketing Agency Around Me


    May 30, 2021 at 15:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Truck Dent Repair Shop Near Me

    Aw, this was a very nice post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to make a top notch article… but what can I say… I procrastinate a lot and don't manage to get anything done.


    May 30, 2021 at 19:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Box Truck Paint Shop


    May 30, 2021 at 23:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. RV Repair Parts Near Me

    The next time I read a blog, I hope that it doesn't disappoint me as much as this particular one. I mean, Yes, it was my choice to read, however I genuinely thought you would probably have something interesting to talk about. All I hear is a bunch of moaning about something that you could possibly fix if you weren't too busy searching for attention.


    May 30, 2021 at 23:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Camper RV Repair Near Me

    Right here is the right site for anybody who hopes to find out about this topic. You understand so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I really will need to…HaHa). You certainly put a brand new spin on a topic that's been written about for many years. Excellent stuff, just great!


    May 30, 2021 at 23:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Mercedes Benz Dealer Service Sprinter Near Me 91605


    May 30, 2021 at 23:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Rv Maintenance Shop

    Excellent article. I will be experiencing many of these issues as well..


    May 31, 2021 at 00:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. RV Plumbing Repair Near Me


    May 31, 2021 at 02:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. RV Body Repair Near Me

    There is definately a lot to find out about this subject. I really like all of the points you made.


    May 31, 2021 at 06:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Mercedes Benz Sprinter Body Repair San Diego


    May 31, 2021 at 07:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. RV Mobile Repair Service Near Me

    Pretty! This was an extremely wonderful post. Thank you for supplying this info.


    May 31, 2021 at 08:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. RV Mobile Repair Service Near Me


    May 31, 2021 at 09:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Sprinter Repair Codes


    May 31, 2021 at 09:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. RV Mobile Repair Near Me

    Aw, this was an incredibly nice post. Taking the time and actual effort to produce a good article… but what can I say… I hesitate a whole lot and don't seem to get nearly anything done.


    May 31, 2021 at 10:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. RV Glass Repair Near Me


    May 31, 2021 at 10:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Social Media Marketing Agencies Near Me


    May 31, 2021 at 15:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Repair 2005 Sprinter Ecm

    Good information. Lucky me I recently found your site by chance (stumbleupon). I've saved it for later!


    May 31, 2021 at 17:37 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Pleasure Way Van Repair


    May 31, 2021 at 18:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Mercedes Winnebago Sprinter Repair

    Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you writing this post and also the rest of the website is very good.


    May 31, 2021 at 20:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. RV Service Repair Near Me

    The very next time I read a blog, Hopefully it won't disappoint me just as much as this particular one. After all, I know it was my choice to read, but I really thought you would have something useful to talk about. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something that you could possibly fix if you weren't too busy looking for attention.


    June 1, 2021 at 00:13 | 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 LorenaBlairjar


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.