Actress Richardson was not allowed early medical help: Report

March 19th, 2009 - 10:48 am ICT by IANS  

Toronto, March 19 (IANS) British actress Natasha Richardson, who died Wednesday from head injuries suffered on a Canadian ski hill, could get not timely help, reports here said. Para-medics, who rushed to the actress after her fall on the ski hill near Montreal Monday, were turned away by emergency workers and told they were not needed.
This may have cost the actress her life, according to these reports. Richardson, 45, died earlier in the day in New York reportedly from head injuries sustained during the fall.

A paramedic, who rushed his team to the ski hill for Richardson, said his team were told by emergency workers that they were not needed. Yves Coderre, director of Ambulances Radisson, told the Globe and Mail newspaper, “They (his team) never saw the patient. So they turned around.”

After her tumble on the ski trail, the actress had reportedly felt fine and even joked about it with her instructor. But an hour later she had to be rushed to a hospital near Montreal after complaining of a severe headache.

This could have been the fatal mistake, said Coderre, who has 23 years of experience as a paramedic. He said victims of head trauma often make the potentially fatal mistake of believing they are fine.

“When you have a head trauma you can bleed. It can deteriorate in a few hours or a few days.

“People don’t realize it can be very serious. We warn them they can die and sometimes they start to laugh. They don’t take it seriously,” the newspaper quoted him as saying.

Toronto neurosurgeon Charles Tator added, “This (case) is an example that even so-called minor falls can result in serious damage - either from bleeding, I suspect, or from swelling.” He said doctors can effectively treat many brain injuries, but not every one.

“If it is a blood clot, we can remove it, and if it is removed quickly, then people can recover very well.

“If there is brain swelling, it is much more difficult to treat. We do have some drugs that reduce brain swelling. We have ways of putting in extra oxygen for recovery of the brain. But for major brain swelling, sometimes it is fatal. Modern medicine just has not gone far enough for a lot of those people,” he said.

The British-born actress, who played memorable roles in many Hollywood films, including ‘The Handmaid’s Tale,’ ‘Maid in Manhattan’ and ‘Wild Child’, was airlifted to New York Tuesday.

The ski resort is a favourite destination for March break for many Canadians.

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