Natasha's lesson helps save Ohio girl

Discussion in 'News / Current Events' started by KenH, Mar 26, 2009.

  1. KenH

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    May 18, 2002
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    Natasha's lesson helps save Ohio girl

    By Elizabeth Cohen
    CNN Senior Medical Correspondent

    (CNN) -- Connie and Donald McCracken were watching CNN one evening last week when they learned of the tragic death of actress Natasha Richardson from a head injury. Immediately, their minds turned to their 7-year-old daughter, Morgan, who was upstairs getting ready for bed.

    Two days earlier, Morgan, her father, and brother had been playing baseball in the yard of their Mentor, Ohio, home when her father hit a line drive that landed just above Morgan's left temple. A lump formed, but the McCrackens iced it down and the swelling subsided within an hour.

    "For the next two days, she was perfectly fine," Donald McCracken says. "She had no symptoms. She went to school both days and got an A on her spelling test as usual. There were no issues whatsoever."

    But after hearing about Richardson's death, the McCrackens wondered if Morgan was really as OK as she seemed. After all, Richardson had been talking and lucid immediately after her fatal injury.

    When they went upstairs to kiss Morgan good night, she complained of a headache. "Because of Natasha, we called the pediatrician immediately. And by the time I got off the phone with him, Morgan was sobbing, her head hurt so much," McCracken says.

    The McCrackens took Morgan to the emergency room at LakeWest Hospital in neighboring Willoughby, where doctors ordered a CT scan and immediately put Morgan on a helicopter to Rainbow Babies and Children's Hospital in Cleveland, with her father by her side.

    "I knew it was bad when she had to get there by helicopter in six minutes, instead of the 30 minutes it would have taken to get to Cleveland in an ambulance," McCracken said.

    When the helicopter arrived at Rainbow, the McCrackens were greeted by Dr. Alan Cohen, the hospital's chief of pediatric neurosurgery. He whisked Morgan into the operating room, pausing for a moment to tell McCracken that his daughter had the same injury as Richardson: an epidural hematoma.

    McCracken remembers standing in the emergency room, feeling like the life had just been sucked out of him. "My heart sank," he says. "It just sank."
    Unlike Richardson's, Morgan's story has a happy ending. After surgery and five days in the hospital, she's at home and doing fine. "Dr. Cohen told us that if we hadn't brought her in Thursday night, she never would have woken up," McCracken says.

    Now the McCrackens sometimes wonder if they waited too long to get Morgan to a doctor. After hearing about Richardson's death, many people are asking themselves the same question: Do all head injuries need attention, even ones that seem minor?

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    #1 KenH, Mar 26, 2009
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2009

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