Perhaps no story impacting brain injury has impacted the public’s consciousness more than that of Natasha Richardson. I could write on this from dozens of angles and perhaps will in the coming months. The best news story (as opposed to commentary) on her injury and subsequent death is at the below link on the Global Mail website:
What is clearer in this piece than in the others is how the life threatening delay in her treatment occurred. This happened because people who should have known better, allowed someone suspected of having a concussion, make the critical errors with respect to her medical care. It is a theme I have echoed since the first days of http://tbilaw.com in 1996. One cannot rely on the memory and/or judgment of someone who has been concussed.
If Natasha had been put in a helicopter when her symptoms started to progress in that first hour after brain injury, odds are she would be alive today. The type of brain injury that killed her is the type we have made the most advances in treating because it is the kind of brain injury for which surgery makes a difference.
When I and my co-author, Becca Martin were writing http://waiting.com in the winter of 1997, we had a dedicated nurse from Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee, Wisconsin assisting us, Denise M. Lemke, RN. I asked her what she believed to be the most important advance in medical science to help brain injured, expecting her to say the CT or MRI. What she said then was “the helicopter.” As with Natasha, the flight for life is the true miracle, because it allows doctors to work their magic while there is still a chance to eliminate the true killer, intracranial pressure.
Attorney Gordon Johnson
©Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr. 2009