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Doctors caution about the risk of being alone after a head injury

The cause of the sudden and unexpected death of popular actor and comedian Bob Saget last month has become a cautionary tale for anyone who suffers a head injury: Get help immediately.

The autopsy on the 65-year-old stated that he most likely “suffered an unwitnessed fall backward and struck the posterior aspect of his head” (the back of the skull). The autopsy revealed multiple skull fractures, including some to bones behind the eye socket. These fractures caused bleeding in his brain.

How is it possible to ignore a serious brain injury?

Brain injury experts acknowledge that it seems unlikely that someone could just ignore such a devastating injury and go to bed, where he was reportedly found. One neurosurgeon said, “If you fracture your orbit, you have significant pain.” However, a person’s ability to make decisions can be compromised by the injury. Confusion can lead people to ignore a serious injury.

That’s why doctors caution that it’s dangerous for someone to be alone after suffering an injury. There’s no one to notice changes in their behavior or other symptoms. The neurosurgeon cautions, “If you have a head injury, you should never — and I mean never — be by yourself for the first 24 hours.” He adds that if you can’t get medical attention, at least have someone watch you, even while sleeping.

Falls account for about half of the traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) for which people are hospitalized. doctors are reminding people that they should never ignore a head injury. Even those whose injuries cause bleeding in the brain can often be saved if a surgeon can get to them in time. 

That doesn’t mean, as another doctor notes, that you “call the doctor after a little bump.” However, if someone is experiencing any symptoms, including a headache, confusion or nausea, they should get medical attention. Some of the most dangerous head injuries may not be obvious, such as when the head is shaken violently in a car crash. People often don’t realize that this can cause a concussion, which is a type of TBI.

If you’ve lost a loved one to a head injury caused by someone else’s actions or negligence, it’s crucial to determine what legal options you have for seeking justice and compensation. 

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