The news in a New York online tabloid was premature and had to be retracted yesterday ... shocking word of Natasha Richardson's death from a fall on a beginner ski slope during a lesson in Canada. Well, as of this writing, Natasha Richardson is still alive, but it's widely reported that she has lost brain function and will not survive.
The exclusive, first report (and retraction) yesterday was as follows:
"After originally reporting that Natasha Richardson had died, Time Out New York is now reporting that the actress, who was in a skiing accident yesterday, is not expected to survive her injuries.
"Update: A Time Out spokesperson has retracted their original report that Richards had already succcumbed to her injuries. Their web site is currently down. The site's back up, but the link is still not loading. According to their P.R., they are amending their post to report that Richardson is, and this is a direct quote, "brain dead and not expected to survive." TMZ and new site IrishCentral.com, which first reported the news of Richardson's ski accident, are reporting that Richardson is being moved by jet to a New York City hospital.
"More Update: The new post on Time Out, posted at 1:58, read: "The following post appeared earlier this afternoon with the headline "RIP Natasha Richardson 1963-2009." Since that time, TONY's sources have clarified the situation: Richardson is brain dead but has not passed away. Sources close to the family indicate that they are treating it as a death. We will update you on this sad story as circumstances warrant. We apologize to the family and our readers."
This link was posted on my Facebook page by a friend and it got a lot of comments.
Dr. Nancy Snyderman does a great job explaining traumatic brain injury, and the things to look out for, on this Today Show clip. For a while, she was using a half peeled orange to demonstrate on, but by the 2nd hour (and this clip) she had a nice model of a skull for us.
A story on CTV.CA explains it well:
"Brain swelling from a fall can cause what is called an epidural hematoma, in which an artery inside the skull tears and begin to bleed. As blood accumulates between the brain and the skull, the skull can't expand, and the brain gets compressed.
Arteries, which are under high pressure, can release a lot of blood in a short period of time, and a person's condition can deteriorate rapidly with the increasing pressure causing a severe headache and eventually, loss of consciousness.
As pressure builds, the brain is pushed downward. If this pressure is not released, the brain stem can become compressed, leading to brain death."
The story goes on to say it's important to have someone stay with you for a few hours after you take a blow to the head, because you think you're okay but you're not. This so-called "lucid phase" can be deceiving, and if you have a huge headache within the next few hours, you should be rushed to the hospital for surgery to release pressure on your brain.
An Australian website called The Babbler quotes a doctor who says it's what's called "Talk and Die" syndrome, and that "symptoms of an epidural hemorrhage are: Headache, loss of consciousness, weakness on one side of the body, and a change in mental status."
A column on the Fox News channel's website calls Richardson "one of the good guys," and the writer has an explanation for all the misinformation that's been flying around since Richardson's accident yesterday (the above mentioned obit, and retraction, as an example:)
By the way: all the chaos about reporting Richardson’s status yesterday was simple. At the time of her accident, she had no publicist. She had been represented for years by Robert Garlock. He died last year, and Natasha spoke beautifully at the service. So there was no one to step up and handle the massive misinformation following her tragedy. Believe me, if Robert were still here, he would have had the situation in hand.
We're expecting the family to emerge sometime today and make a statement to the press. They may be able to tell us what happened, but no one can really tell us why.