'Epidural hematoma' is a blood clot between the brain and the skull
THURSDAY, March 19 (HealthDay News) -- Actress Natasha Richardson died from a blunt impact to the head, the New York City medical examiner said Thursday, after falling Monday on a beginner's ski slope in Canada.
The cause of death, which was ruled an accident, was "epidural hematoma due to blunt impact to the head," said medical examiner spokeswoman Ellen Borakove, the Associated Press reported. An epidural hematoma is a blood clot that pools between the brain and the skull.
The 45-year-old, award-winning Richardson, who died Wednesday at a hospital in New York City, reportedly suffered the head injury after falling Monday during a private lesson at a resort in Quebec.
Richardson seemed fine after she fell, but about an hour later, she complained that she didn't feel well. She was hospitalized Tuesday in Montreal and later flown to Lenox Hill Hospital in Manhattan, where she died, the AP reported.
Until the autopsy results were released Thursday, many were wondering how Richardson suffered a devastating brain injury after an apparently minor fall on a beginner's ski slope.
"If you take the name Natasha Richardson out of the picture and ask how a neurosurgeon would think of a case where someone has a fall which seems fairly minor and then deteriorates a few hours later, quite a few things would go through the surgeon's differential thinking," Dr. Arno Fried, chairman of neurosurgery at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey, said Wednesday. "It's not an uncommon scenario."
A worse-case scenario would be bleeding either on the surface or deep inside the brain, Fried said.
According to news reports, Richardson fell during a beginner skiing lesson at the Mont Tremblant ski resort north of Montreal. She was not wearing a helmet.
Richardson suffered no immediately apparent inj
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