In March of 2009, mainstream actress 45-year-old Natasha Richardson died after a relatively minor ski accident left her with bleeding on the brain. Her deadly ski accident head trauma left many across the country wondering about seemingly mild traumatic brain injuries and something called "talk and die syndrome."

Talk and die syndrome takes place where a fall victim or accident victim receives a
minor hit on the head that is not immediately followed by tell-tale brain injury symptoms such as unconsciousness confusion, coma, slurred speech, severe headache, or drowsiness. Instead, accident victims will be able to talk and function without any problems in the minutes after their head injury.

Talk and die syndrome is usually caused by a specific brain injury, epidural hematoma, a fracture in the temporal bone that is located near an artery in the head, the middle meningeal. Since bleeding from the artery may be slow, patients could be "fine" in the minutes and even hours after a
brain injury, but as the skull fills with blood and as the brain receives mounting pressure, the head injury patient will soon become confused and then lapse into a coma. Although a person who receives immediate medical attention after an epidural hematoma has a good chance of survival, it is hard to catch quickly.

It is difficult to know whether you should go to the emergency room for a simple bump on the head, but if you have any doubts that you may have struck your head and caused serious damage, your best bet is to take a quick trip to the emergency room.


James R. Keller
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Partner at Keller & Keller