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The Risks of “Talk and Die Syndrome”

Victims of traumatic brain injuries generally exhibit numerous symptoms. However, there are rare occasions when the victim demonstrates no indication of injury, followed by a severe medical emergency. Termed “talk and die syndrome”, the condition can prove critical and even fatal if it is not caught in time. Though they are both classified as traumatic brain injuries, the syndrome differs from a concussion in the type of damage that occurs inside the skull and brain.

“Talk and die syndrome” gained national exposure in 2009 when an award winning actress was killed following a ski accident. According to a report in the New York Times, Natasha Richardson suffered a brain injury while on a skiing vacation. She fell during a lesson and while she was not wearing a helmet, her fall was reportedly not serious. Witnesses stated that she appeared fine, showing no signs of injury. About an hour after the incident, Richardson reportedly began feeling ill and she was taken to an area hospital, where she ultimately died. In the days following, medical experts concluded that her death was a result of “talk and die syndrome”.

What is “Talk and Die”

Brain injuries occur when the head is hit or jolted abruptly. If an artery is damaged during the injury, it may cause severe internal bleeding. This condition is called an epidural hemorrhage. The blood quickly collects within the brain and creates pressure that can result in a fatality if not relieved in a timely manner. While this is occurring, the patient may appear lucid as they walk and talk normally. There may be no indication of the bleeding that is occurring internally. Yet, the outward condition can turn serious very quickly, with the patient’s condition rapidly deteriorating into a critical status. This fast turn around is what prompted the descriptive term “talk and die”.

Epidural hemorrhaging is vastly different from what happens to the brain during a concussion. No bleeding occurs with a concussion. Instead, the nerves of the brain are temporarily paralyzed. The damage occurs immediately, but it is generally reversible with treatment.

The period of time between the injury and the onset of symptoms is crucial to survival for a “talk and die syndrome” victim. If caught in time, physicians can stop the internal bleeding and alleviate the pressure on the brain. For this reason, it is important to recognize the signs of the condition. According to, symptoms of the syndrome include:

***The sudden onset of a severely painful headache
***Extreme dizziness and an inability to balance
***Complaints of nausea and the occurrence of projectile vomiting
***Experiencing seizures with no prior history

When brain injuries occur, due to the negligence or recklessness of another, the victim and the family can face numerous years of mental, physical and financial hardship. A court of law can hold the responsible party accountable for their actions by granting a monetary award.
If you or a loved one has suffered a traumatic brain injury at the hands of another, contact the experienced attorneys of Levin & Perconti for a free consultation.

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