The strange death of Natasha Richardson

In the several stories I’ve read so far about the brain death, and then the death, of Natasha Richardson, such as this at the New York Times this evening, there is no explanation of how it could have happened. She fell on a beginner’s ski slope while taking a beginner’s lesson, an ordinary fall, she said she felt ok, an hour later was feeling ill, and within a day (according to the March 18 New York Post, in a story I cannot find online) had suffered complete brain death. The only thing I can think of would be a massive stroke, but none of the stories mention a stroke. I guess it would be the first time a person has died from a fall on a beginner’s ski slope.

Update: The most detail I find is in “Richardson’s Accident Reignites Ski Helmet Debate” at the Times, updated at 9:05 p.m. March 18. The story makes clear that nothing is known about why she died and even seems to question the New York Post’s report that Richardson had suffered brain death:

Ms. Richardson, by contrast, was on a beginner slope taking a lesson—but she was not wearing a helmet, either, according to a spokeswoman for Mont Tremblant. The fall seemed to be a minor one, and she was not only conscious afterward, but talking and joking. It was only an hour later, when she complained of severe head pain, that she was rushed to a local hospital, transferred to one in Montreal for a higher level of care, and then airlifted to Lenox Hill Hospital in New York.

Though a confusion of unconfirmed reports were swirling in the news media about how grave her condition was—several, including The Gazette in Montreal and The New York Post, say she was profoundly and irreversibly brain-injured—no specifics had been officially released by Wednesday morning either about her condition or its cause; the fall on the ski slope on Tuesday might have simply aggravated a previous injury, or even have nothing to do with it at all.

- end of initial entry -

March 19

Charles T. writes:

This does not sound like a stroke. An internal cerebral/cranial bleeding seems more likely. The reports of a headache after leaving the slopes suggests this.

Karen writes from England:

Most severe head injuries render the victim unconscious immediately and there is no recovery of consciousness. Natasha Richardson evidently did not suffer a major head injury as she was fully conscious afterwards and managed to stand up. It is more likely that the minor trauma to her head resulted in the rupture of a small aneurism in the brain which caused a major haemorrhage and brain damage. These aneurisms are usually congenital. However if medical attention is sought promptly, it is usually possible to stop the bleeding and minimise the brain damage and most people make a full or almost recovery from such events. The mystery is why this killed her and this has not been explained.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at March 18, 2009 09:15 PM | Send

Email entry

Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):