After the sudden death of actress Natasha Richardson this month from a ski accident brain injury, the Baltimore Sun explores when brain injuries can be fatal and how brain injury accident victims can protect themselves from the worst case scenario.
Although Richardson’s brain injury was considered mild, doctors in Maryland say that all brain injuries could be taken seriously, and that any brain trauma that leads to persistent pain should be immediately examined by doctors.
“There is no such thing as a mild head injury. It’s a misnomer,” said Vani Rao, director of the Brain Injury Program at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center and a neuropsychiatrist. “Go to the emergency room immediately and get a complete evaluation.”
Although three-fourths of brain injuries may not be considered serious, they can still lead to chronic symptoms, permanent disabilities, and other significant health problems days, weeks, and months after the accident. Brain injury accident victims may face sleep disturbances, cognitive issues, personality changes, headaches, memory problems, and concentration problems. These symptoms may be harder to see than a broken bone, but they can be devastating.
Bleeding in the brain can usually be detected by a CT scan – and patients often feel a headache that gets worse and not better when bleeding in the brain is seen. Even if you do not lose consciousness in the accident, your brain could be affected. Even if you are wearing a helmet, brain injuries do occur.
Falling and hitting your head is a somewhat common occurrence, and not every bump and bruise needs to be examined by a doctor. However, if you or family members notice brain injury symptoms, don’t hesitate to take a trip to the nearest ER to be sure.
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