Natasha Richardson’s Time Should Not Have Run Out

Why did it take Natasha Richardson four hours to be admitted to hospital? Those four hours were the difference between life and death. Sadly, Richardson lost her life as blood seeped through her brain.
Questions are now surfacing about what actually happened the last few hours from Richardson’s fall at a Quebec ski resort.

Paramedic records show that the first medics on the scene were turned away. They did see the actress briefly from a distance though. The report contradicts what the ski resort has been saying. They did not see her laughing and walking off the fall which has been reported.

The epidural hematoma which caused the actress’s death could have been treated if she had gone at that time to hospital.

The coroner has reported that a blunt trauma tore an artery in Ms. Richardson’s head and led to bleeding between her skull and the outer lining of her brain.

The New York Times reports:

“It can be quite dramatic,” Dr. Langer said. “It’s one of the most acute neurological emergencies. It’s one of the few times where it’s life or death, where you can truly save somebody’s life, or they die if you don’t get to them.”

It’s common practice for Mont Tremblant, where Richardson was staying, to call for ambulances after skiers have minor falls. It is just as common for the emergency crews to be turned away when they arrive.

The questions that are arising stem from the second call for emergency help. Officials at Mont Tremblant say that an hour after the incident Ms. Richardson was taken to hospital.

The first call came in at 12:43 pm at the time of the accident. The ambulance was on the scene 17 minutes later. They left soon after when told Richardson did not want medical attention.

The second call came in not an hour later but over two hours later at 3 p.m. according to ambulance records. The ambulance arrived at 3:09 p.m. The medical crew worked on her until 3:42 p.m. when it rushed to a Ste. Agathe hospital. Richardson arrived at hospital at 4:20 pm.

By then her fate was already sealed.

Richardson was transferred to hospital in Montreal about 7 p.m.

She went to the second hospital by ambulance because there is no air transport in the area. Twenty-four hours later she was taken to New York’s Lenox Hill Hospital by plane. Quebec is the only province that doesn’t have air transportation for medical emergencies.


The Toronto Star
reports:

“If you have a ski crash at (Mont) Tremblant or in Sutton,” Dr. Tarek Razek said, “I cannot get you to my centre fast enough to have those reductions in mortality. I just can’t. Because we don’t have the mechanisms and the systems in this region to get you there.

“So,” he continued, “wear a helmet when you ski.”

The resort will not comment on the chain of event but will cooperate with any investigations stemming from Richardson’s death.

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