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Natasha Richardson Dies As Minor Head Injury Turns Deadly

Natasha Richardson said she felt fine.

The Tony-winning, actress, known for her roles in "Nell" and the 1998 re-make of "The Parent Trap," was taking a beginner's ski lesson at Quebec, Canada's Mont Tremblant Ski Resort on March 18, 2008, when she fell.

Ms. Richardson, 45, who showed no visible signs of injury, was escorted down the mountain by a ski instructor around 1 p.m. and returned to her hotel room after signing a waiver. At roughly 3 p.m., however, she began to feel unwell. 

Paramedics rushed her to Centre Hospitalier Laurentien in Ste-Agathe for treatment before Ms. Richardson was transferred to Hopital du Sacre-Coeur in Montreal. She was eventually taken to Lenox Hill Hospital in New York, New York, where she died.

Medical Examiners determined that Ms. Richardson died from an epidural hematoma, caused by a blunt impact to her head. Eyewitness reports suggest she was skiing without a helmet, but did not strike a fixed object, other than the ground.

Ms. Richardson's death has brought needed attention to a very serious type of injury that can arise from even the most minor of car accidents: closed head injury and/or traumatic brain injury (TBI). These injuries often leave no external signs of injury and are sometimes deadly.

It's very common for someone who's had a fall or been in a car accident to appear perfectly healthy immediately after impact, yet suddenly and rapidly deteriorate from the after-effects. In fact, many people will walk away from the accident and go home without seeking any treatment. This is often when things take a turn for the worse. The assumption that they are OK can cost them their life.

Often, victims of a closed head injury will have a brain bleed that slowly causes pressure to build up, causing them to experience the classic symptoms of TBI.        

Symptoms can include:

  • Headaches or neck pains that do not go away
  • Difficulty remembering, concentrating, or making decisions
  • Slowness in thinking, speaking, acting, or reading
  • Getting lost or easily confused
  • Feeling tired all of the time, having no energy or motivation
  • Mood changes, such as feeling sad or angry for no reason
  • Changes in sleep patterns, such as sleeping more or sleeping difficulty
  • Light-headed, dizziness, or loss of balance
  • Nausea or urge to vomit
  • Increased sensitivity to lights, sounds, or distractions
  • Blurred vision or eyes that tire easily
  • Loss of sense of smell or taste

The absence pain or signs of external injury in the case of a car accident or slip and fal that causes one to strike his or her head should not deter a patient from seeking medical attention. As evidenced by the tragic story of Natasha Richardson, even minor blows to the head can cause serious brain injury, or death.

If a head injury occurs as a result of recklessness or negligence on the part of another, the victim could stand to recover medical expenses, lost wages and compensation for pain and suffering.


If you've suffered a head injury as a result of someone else's carelessness, contact an Indiana head injury attorney. Keller & Keller can provide you with a free consultation.

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