Natasha Richardson Said to Be Brain-Dead After Skiing Mishap

Our condolences go out to the family of actress Natasha Richardson who fell during a ski lesson in Canada.

Sources close to the Tony award-winning actress say she is brain dead and being flown back to New York, where she will be taken off life support.

Ms. Richardson initially seemed okay after the fall. So what happened? One doctor calls it "talk and die" syndrome:

I can only speculate, but it sounds like something we call the ‘talk and die’ syndrome,” said Dr. Steven Flanagan, director of Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine at New York University’s Langone Medical Center.

What this implies is that someone hits their head and they are seemingly OK initially," he told FOXNews.com. "But then they get a rapid collection of blood — usually called epidural hemorrhage — and that means bleeding between the skull and the brain.”

So sad.

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    The Redgraves have had sorrows (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Cream City on Tue Mar 17, 2009 at 06:47:13 PM EST
    but this one is so sad.  Wonderful actress, two young sons with Liam Neeson, who apparently couldn't get to her in time from a set.

    These hemorrhages are strange; I've seen one, with my son when he was a toddler and took a standard toddler sort of fall.  It didn't even seem that he had hit his head.  But later on came swelling.  The pediatrician said that young skulls still can expand somewhat, which helped him recover well.

    Still, 45 is way too young for Richardson to die.

    My Uncle too. He was 78. (none / 0) (#9)
    by BarnBabe on Tue Mar 17, 2009 at 11:32:36 PM EST
    He fell in the bathroom and was yelling for help. We went and got him off the floor. He seemed ok. Then he could not talk. We called 911 and by the time they got him to the hospital, he was brain dead. We took him off life support a week later. We had no idea at the time that he had hit his head on the toilet basin. Now, I encourage anyone who hits their head hard to seek medical attention immediately to be on the safe side. It sounds as if the ski instructors were trying to get her to the hospital. They can save you if you get there quickly. The timing window is small. This news does not sound encouraging.

    I met her and Liam Neeson (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by inclusiveheart on Tue Mar 17, 2009 at 07:47:33 PM EST
    years ago when I was working in a restaurant frequented by celebrities in NYC.  She was both stunningly beautiful and really very gracious - something you can't say about many stars - I always envied her grace and beauty because of that brief meeting during a lunch shift.  This is very sad news.  They seemed like such a very happy family and awfully well grounded - another thing you can't always say about many stars and their entourages.

    I will remember her outstanding work (5.00 / 0) (#5)
    by The Addams Family on Tue Mar 17, 2009 at 08:43:29 PM EST
    in The Handmaid's Tale, among other films.

    Wasn't she a guest judge, or guest diner, on an episode of Top Chef this past season?

    Nell (5.00 / 2) (#14)
    by TeresaInPa on Wed Mar 18, 2009 at 10:39:05 AM EST
    I remember her and Liam in a movie named Nell that I saw because I am a big Jodi Foster fan.
    It is a beautiful movie if you have not seen it.

    A site called "TMZ" quoted (none / 0) (#2)
    by oculus on Tue Mar 17, 2009 at 06:58:00 PM EST
    a medical person saying she is in a drug-induced coma.  That was this morning, though.

    sad (none / 0) (#3)
    by progrocks on Tue Mar 17, 2009 at 07:33:06 PM EST
    my wife makes me watch parent trap too often, and i thought she was great as Sally Bowles in the roundabout production of Cabaret.

    she and Liam always seemed like a nice couple for celebrities.

    Nothing . . . (none / 0) (#6)
    by Randinho on Tue Mar 17, 2009 at 08:50:02 PM EST
    has been confirmed as of yet.

    Exactly (none / 0) (#7)
    by nolo on Tue Mar 17, 2009 at 09:14:36 PM EST
    Anything could be going on at this point.

    I so hope this worst case scenario isn't true (none / 0) (#12)
    by otherlisa on Wed Mar 18, 2009 at 12:11:59 AM EST
    Such a talent, and far too young.

    I gave my daughters ski lessons this year. (none / 0) (#8)
    by jerry on Tue Mar 17, 2009 at 09:16:40 PM EST
    So this is really scary for me showing how easy tragedy can strike even those who seem most blessed and immune.

    Snowboarders take heed (none / 0) (#10)
    by lobary on Tue Mar 17, 2009 at 11:35:39 PM EST
    This is indeed a sad tragedy and one can only hope that it will serve as a reminder to boarders to always wear a helmet. If a beginning skier can take a fall on a slope and suffer this kind of head injury, snowboarders at any level should always wear a helmet because snowboarding falls are so sudden that you often don't have time to brace yourself with your arms. I took a fall years ago on a board where I went somersaulting forward and ended up with a ringing bell unlike anything I've ever experienced. I didn't go to a doctor (no insurance, of course) but I'm pretty sure I probably got a concussion from that blow. The first thing I did that afternoon was rent a helmet from an outfitter at the resort.

    When I think of some of the blows (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by nycstray on Wed Mar 18, 2009 at 12:10:20 AM EST
    I've taken to my head* (one in particular), I'm counting my blessings. I knew you had to be somewhat cautious with blows to the head, but not that anything like this could happen and so quickly.

    This is very sad.

    *not snowboarding, I seem to prefer to hit pavement and other man made surfaces . . .


    I was thinking back to my skiing days, which were (none / 0) (#16)
    by jawbone on Wed Mar 18, 2009 at 01:31:40 PM EST
    well anyone wore helmets unless for ski jumping and thought about my various and sundry falls --at least the ones I can recall-- and don't recall any where my head hit hard.

    I clearly remember the fall that tore the binding out of my favorite skis and did a number on my knee, at Indianhead in Northern Michigan. A hard fall going down a steep long hill with a turn in the trail, on a groomed track while x-county skiing that did a number on my left shoulder (still have limited range of motion bcz I didn't think it was serious enough to go to a doctor--shoulda had PT), but nothing hard to my head. That I can hit other places, as you note. Misjudging the opening getting into my car, for example.... Getting up fast and being too far under something I was working on -- that was big goose egg.

    It just seems so, so unfair for this to happen to this lovely woman. So very sad. I hope she can recover fully. But it sounds very serious.


    skiing (none / 0) (#17)
    by CST on Wed Mar 18, 2009 at 01:43:19 PM EST
    I had always been more afraid for my knees than my head while skiing.  An accident a few years ago changed that view a bit.  While going off a jump I lost control, my ski came off, went through my goggle, cut my head, and I landed head first about 1/2 an inch from breaking my neck.

    All it takes is bad luck, and it can happen to anyone.  Although I have also had problems walking into poles, doors, etc...

    I agree this is very sad.  Hopefully it will encourage helmet use throughout the sport.


    So sad, even if the worst is not true (none / 0) (#13)
    by ruffian on Wed Mar 18, 2009 at 12:50:07 AM EST
    I just saw one of her older movies on Netflix a few days ago, Widow's Peak. She was so lovely and charming in that. I hate to think of her wounded or worse.  Keeping my hopes up.

    So so sad (none / 0) (#15)
    by WS on Wed Mar 18, 2009 at 12:09:57 PM EST
    My deepest condolences to her family and her husband, Liam Neeson.  

    Very sad, indeed (none / 0) (#18)
    by Inspector Gadget on Wed Mar 18, 2009 at 01:49:27 PM EST
    My heart goes out to the family members who are trying to comprehend their loss right now. It's a tough journey through grief.

    The White Countess (none / 0) (#19)
    by good grief on Wed Mar 18, 2009 at 02:44:30 PM EST
    with Ralph Fiennes, 2005, one of the finest films I ever saw, primarily because of her. Remarkable actress.