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The recent death of wife, mother, and actress Natasha Richardson has brought the issue of minor head trauma to the bright light of the news. Ms. Richardson was skiing on a beginners slope in Canada with her children when she fell. She laughed, got up, said she was fine, and refused medical care. About an hour later, she developed a headache and was taken to the closest hospital. That hospital soon transferred her to a hospital with a trauma center. Later, she was transferred to a New York hospital so her family could be with her in what would be her last hours.
What happened to Richardson happens all too often. Even though she didn't hit her head very hard and felt fine at first, the blow to her head caused a traumatic brain injury, an epidual hematoma. That occurs when blood pools between the skull and the thick lining of the brain. When injuries such as Richardson's are treated early, the results are usually good, and the patient recovers. However, if treatment is delayed, the outcome is not good because the damage has already begun...
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