Skip to comments.Medical examiner: Natasha Richardson died from trauma to the head; Broadway lights to be dimmed
Posted on 03/19/2009 1:09:05 PM PDT by LottieDah
Tony-winning actress Natasha Richardson was killed by a blunt trauma to the head and her death was ruled an accident, the city Medical Examiner reported Thursday.
Richardson sustained an epidermal hematoma - a blood clot that forms upon impact and starts growing between the brain and the skull - after wiping out Monday on the bunny slope while skiing at a Canadian resort.
"This is a very treatable condition if you're aware of what the problem is and the patient is quickly transferred to a hospital," Dr. Keith Siller of New York University Langone Medical Center said. "But there is very little time to correct this."
Richardson gave no sign that she was seriously hurt until about an hour after she fell and twice turned down offers to take her to a doctor, witnesses said.
It wasn't until Richardson developed a pounding headache that she was rushed to a Montreal hospital.
The ME's finding came as Broadway prepared to dim its light in memory of Richardson.
For one minute starting at 8 p.m., marquees up and down the Great White Way will go dark as a tribute to Richardson, who died on Wednesday.
"The Broadway community is shocked and deeply saddened by the tragic loss of one of our finest young actresses," said Charlotte St. Martin, executive director of The Broadway League.
Meanwhile, plans were being finalized for a family-centered funeral where actor husband Liam Neeson and their two sons can mourn with kin and close friends, sources said.
(Excerpt) Read more at nydailynews.com ...
My son will experience this tribute as he is down there with a school group.
Did socialized medicine kill these lovely and talented actress?
I am very sad about her death....I LOVED the twin movie.
Who knows for sure. She did decline medical attention. So sad for her husband and children.
Dignified send-off for a classy lady.
May Liam and the boys be comforted.
Did socialized medicine kill these lovely and talented actress?
I hope not...although she died in New York. I am not sure what Canada did for her, but I am pretty trusting and feel that they did the best they could.
I had no formal training and for the first 3 years taking my kids skiing with the boy scouts, I practiced a combination of snowplow/controlled plummeting. One of the other scout dads showed me how to slalom enough so as not to look like total @$$. .....and of course I practiced my new found skills on some nasty black diamond trails.... and I took some incredible headers without more than being totally worn out and muscle fatigued for a day or too. Must be my thick NY head that saved me.
What a shame about Richardson....RIP.
The reaction to this around here was really heartwarming. Not a single It’s just a Hollyweird actor! post that I saw.
True...Thank God. Although I believe a lot of it had to do with they way she conducted herself. I think FREEPERS respect Hollywood folks as long as they are dignified and that includes those who don’t agree with our beliefs. The ones we don’t like so much are the loud mouths who spew hate...Natasha certainly was not in that group.
That is because she wasn’t out wearing her politics on her sleeve (as far I know). She was a wife and mother, it really is sad.
No. AN ambulance was called, she turned it down. Two other offers to have her checked out were made, she turned them down again and again. As much as we abhor socialized medicine, there are times when it's the victim's own fault.
<Did socialized medicine kill these lovely and talented actress?
I don’t think so. She fell down, thought she wasn’t seriously hurt and declined treatment. How many of us would also do the same? When she started feeling ill, it was too late. People have signs of strokes and heart attacks, don’t think it’s serious and often wind up getting help too late. Many times it kills them.
Too bad about Ms Richardson. My husband died when my son was about the same age as her children. It is a hard road and I don’t wish it on anyone.
I am waiting to see. After hearing of the waits for CT up there, it was my first question. Still unanswered. I have not heard of any intervention done. I bet they didn’t even scan her.
I wonder if these lovely lady had a pre-existing condition that she didn’t know about. And the way Hollywood actresses always have to eat low fat diets, perhaps her fall triggered an aneurysm?
It’s very sad.
I don’t buy that. She went to two hospitals in Canada, apparently not much more than an hour after the accident.Did anyone scan and treat her?
I don't think so. They kept urging her to get checked and she refused and even signed a form refusing an examination. They even called an ambulance and it was turned away. She must have thought it was just a bump on her head and didn't want to make a fuss.
the autopsy said blunt trauma.
I think they did the best they could, considering that she chose to turn them away. Very sad.
You are probably right. When she passed out in the hospital, some bureaucratic puke probably whined “Hey, we can’t just scan her because she’s hurt there’s a waiting list ya know. Equal medicine for all.” or something equally noxious.
Socialized medicine coming to us thanks to BHO and his always by his side teleprompter.
And this is something that nearly all of us have done at one time without giving it another thought.
The whole event is sadness on top of sadness.
Who among us has fallen down...and hit their head?
Who among us has said, "I'm fine, no problem...I'm good"....
Life is fragile at times....but we don't always know it.
You are both wrong. It’s called “talk and die” syndrome. By the time the victim realizes there is something wrong, via a headache, it’s already too late.
Yeah. Sometimes we just don’t realize that little bump wasn’t so little.
The article mistakenly calls it an “epidermal” hematoma.
It’s actually “epidural”, and time is of the essence in treating it.
I’ve been reading this stuff for 2 days and never noticed the difference. Thanks for pointing it out.
Response: I think the correct term is an "..epidural hematoma...."
Comment: At any rate, what a freak accident. A minor bump and then death for a young person. So sad. Prayers for her family.
Well, let me ask a doctor friend and see what he says.
Dr. Willie Maket, M.D., ph.D, Psy.D, LSD:
“My analysis is very analyzing and I do indeed perceive that my esteemed colleague Dr. Leonide, whose expertise in the writings of Bret Hart and whose extensive knowledge of professional wrestling is indeed unmatched in the U.S. and the whole world over is possibly correct in his estimation that socialized medicine is a bad idea but he is absolutely wacky if he thinks the lovely lady died from an aneurysm induced by blunt trauma. Prof. Leonide just doesn’t understand medicine because he was a fellow student back when we were in undergrad studies and he failed anatomy three times in a row. At that point, it was wise of him to forego his dreams of medical school.”
Your answer to being proved incorrect is sarcasm. Okay.
You mean with an answer like that I still have to put the Sarc/ at the end of it?
Well, let me ask my doctor friend... LOL! Sarc/
No, she had little time to go get this fixed and didn’t go. Epidurals are deadly,,any blow to the temple right above the ear is so risky.
On these threads one can never tell. ;-)
She had immediate access to medical services, but apparently declined (I would’ve too, not knowing what I know now).
Once she fell ill, she received immediate treatment.
She was flown to the US only after she was brain dead.
By the time the severe headaches came on, a lot of bleeding had probably occurred, with resulting pressure on the brain. Very critical to have the hematoma removed ASAP.
Similar to shaken baby syndrome.
Golly. We never used to think of wearing a helmet for doing anything; but now it looks like a helmet is needed in any sport.
I noticed that too, it’s epidural hematoma (above the dura)
<And this is something that nearly all of us have done at one time without giving it another thought.
Yup. I had a co-worker who complained of a headache, but thought she should finish her work. Others urged her to go home, but she wanted the work to get done. She was wound up in the hospital that night and died the next day of an aneurysm. Now, aneurysms being what they are, it’s possible nothing could be done. Or, thinking it was just a bad headache, she wouldn’t have gone to the hospital anyway, but it does make you wonder about all the times you tell yourself ‘it’s nothing’ and carry on.
Yep, it sure makes you think.
That was a sad accident R.I.P. Natasha.
They had to have done a CT. She was diagnosed before the family flew her to New York. They knew that she was already brain dead. The family says they wanted her to die at home with her family and friends.
It is my understanding that Emergency medicine in Canada is top notch. It is when the procedures are not due to emergency, that the quality of care becomes questionable. She was a well known actress, and I am sure she got the very best care available.
Wonder how that is treated, since I keep reading how simple it is if caught in time. Also, reminds me of Star Trek IV, that's what Chekov was dying from and the 20th century doctors wanted to slice open his head...
Socialized medicine never had a chance if she refused medical attention after she fell, as has been reported.
I saw a few yesterday, along with some "too bad it wasn't her terrorist-loving mother" posts.
Generally the treatment is emergency surgery, where the skull is opened and the hematoma is removed. With the advent of computerized tomography (CT) it has been possible to become somewhat more conservative in patients with small hematoma and who has no serious neurological symptoms. However, an epidural hematoma with temporal location should in almost all cases be treated surgically.
Post 27 has a link on treatment.
I sure hope the medics involved have a signed ,witnessed refusal of care and transport.
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