Dealing with Brain Injuries

The Natasha Richardson tragedy shows how fast a small accident can become a crisis

Charles Eshelman / Filmmagic / Getty

Richardson's fatal injury was an epidural hematoma.

I didn't worry at first when my daughter Elisa, who was then 3, slipped and clunked her head in a museum in Mexico City. She cried, then stopped, and we let her go play. An hour later, she was vomiting and convulsing. Half an hour after that, she was on a gurney in an emergency room while doctors fought to keep her awake, get a line in her arm and race her to a CT-scan machine.

Elisa was lucky: there had been brain swelling but no bleeding. Natasha Richardson, who died after suffering a head bump that seemed no worse than...

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