It has been nearly 10 years since the tragic death of actress Natasha Richardson in a skiing accident in Canada, but the injury she suffered should not be forgotten. After a fall in a beginner’s ski lesson, Richardson said she felt fine and returned to her hotel room. It was not until a few hours later that she began to feel unwell and an ambulance was called. She died two days later of what was determined to be an epidural hematoma suffered in the fall.
This sad story is a reminder that serious head injuries can go undetected for hours or days but ultimately result in death. This condition is sometimes referred to as talk and die syndrome.
What Is "Talk and Die" Syndrome?
Talk and die syndrome is the aftereffect of a head injury in which patients suffer a blow to the head, assume they are OK, but then decline rapidly. This is not an uncommon phenomenon with brain injuries and can be caused by an epidural hemorrhage. This type of head injury causes blood to become trapped between the skull and the hard layer of skin between the bone and brain known as the dura mater. As the blood flows from the ruptured artery, the fluid continues to build until it punctures the dura.
This Condition Often Affects Car Accident Victims
Many car accident victims who fracture their skull are unaware that they are injured. In these cases, the fracture typically occurs just above the ear, in the temporal bone. If the artery that runs above the skull gets torn and begins to bleed above the lining of the brain, pressure begins building on the brain causing the brain to swell. As the blood flow to the brain is reduced, the patient begins to feel the symptoms associated with talk and die syndrome.
It is important to note that the initial impact does not have to be hard at all and the delay in any noticeable symptoms or signs of injury can range from three minutes to three hours—or even several days—after a car accident or slip and fall.
What Should You Do If You Hit Your Head in a Car Crash?
Getting to a hospital within the first few hours after your accident is critical. Not doing so can result in permanent brain damage. Even if you do not feel any symptoms of a head injury and there are no outward signs of brain damage, it is important to be medically assessed.
Some of the symptoms that could be a sign of talk and die syndrome include the following:
- 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
Talk and die syndrome is a frightening prospect for anyone. There's no telling when a seemingly minor bump on the head could become life-threatening. The only way for patients to protect themselves is to seek medical attention immediately when in doubt. Nothing is more important than the health and safety of a loved one. A few wasted hours in an emergency room is nothing compared to the loss of a life.
Get the Compensation You Need to Recover From a Serious Head Injury
If you do suffer a head injury in a car accident that wasn’t your fault, you will need financial resources to seek treatment and a full recovery. Start a live chat with one of our attorneys today to learn more about the steps you need to take.