Thursday, March 19, 2009

Natasha Richardson

I was shocked when I first heard about the tragic accident that took the life of Natasha Richardson.  I am finding it hard to accept that a small fall could cause a fatal brain injury.  While the privacy of her family out weighs everything else, I do hope that they announce the results of her autopsy. 

There haven’t been any details about the accident itself.  I wonder how much force was involved.  I can remember two other high profile skiing accidents that involved fatal brain injuries.  There was Michael Kennedy’s fatal collision with a tree on the slopes of Aspen, back in December of 1997.  That was followed by Sonny Bono’s tragic death a week later under similar circumstances.  Speed does kill, a helmet could saved their lives.

I’m wondering if Richardson had a pre-existing condition.  She could have had a brain aneurysm.  That could have triggered the fall, or more likely, the fall made the aneurysm worse.  My father had a brain aneurysm once and he had many of the same symptoms that Richardson had reported.  He was lucky, surgeons were able to clamp the aneurysm before it caused any permanent damage to his brain.  With Natasha Richardson, a blood vessel that was already leaking started opening up after the fall and by the time they got her to the hospital it was already too late.  My heart goes out to her sons and her husband, this is a a tragic loss.

1 comment:

  1. I share your view (re: aneurysm), although the autopsy seems to be going with the "blunt trauma" theory.

    Somehow it doesn't compute for me, and I find the press parallels with Bono and Kennedy grotesque - there is no comparison between an innocuous tumble on a beginner's slope (barely even a slope) and whacking into a tree at warp velocity when you are high as a kite on meds, as Bono allegedly was.

    Everything suggests an existing medical condition of some description, either causing the fall in the first place or alternatively being triggered and/or seriously exacerbated by it. Everything, that is, except a possible desire by the media and others to turn this into an exercise in "let's make helmets compulsory".

    To be fair, the IHT is also asking pertinent questions in the same direction, but it is probable we'll never know, and even if we did, it wouldn't bring the lady back.



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