Talk and die syndrome is an epithet physicians and neurologists use for an epidural hematoma. An epidural hematoma is a closed traumatic head injury in which blood accumulates between the dural membrane and the skull. Traumatic head injuries can cause epidural hematoma, but victims may not notice any immediate symptoms. While a minor skull fracture quietly hemorrhages blood vessels in the brain, the victim may continue to talk and act normally – not noticing the injury until it becomes fatal. Thus, the nickname, talk and die syndrome.

If a loved one has recently suffered through a brain injury from an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, contact a qualified Kansas City brain injury lawyer.

what is talk and die syndrome? | Kansas City Personal Injury Lawyer

What You Need to Know About Epidural Hematomas

An epidural hematoma is most common in fall accidents, where the victim slips or trips and falls, striking his or her head. A blow to the head may cause bleeding in the brain, or hematoma, that the victim doesn’t notice. Over the next few hours or even days, the bleeding can continue – building up pressure between the brain and the skull. Eventually, the pressure will be enough to dislocate, or herniate, the brain. This is generally fatal.

From the time of injury to the time of death, most epidural hematoma patients don’t notice anything wrong. They often get up, don’t notice any symptoms, and refuse medical care. Such was the case in the death of actress Natasha Richardson. She allegedly fell during a skiing excursion but said she felt fine. She waived medical care but later complained of a headache and went to the emergency room. She ultimately died from a previously undiagnosed epidural hematoma.

Prompt medical care is crucial in diagnosing and treating talk and die syndrome before it becomes fatal. If too much pressure builds and displaces the brain, the brain will lose its supply of blood and die. Catching the brain injury early, however, can result in surgical removal of the hematoma before it becomes fatal. With fast enough treatment, epidural hematoma may not even cause permanent brain damage. Brain injuries such as talk and die syndrome are why going to the hospital immediately after bumping your head – even if you feel fine – is vital.

Can You Detect Talk and Die Syndrome in Time?

Epidural hematomas are dangerous because of the lack of symptoms as pressure builds in the brain. However, some victims may notice signs of something amiss after the incident, such as headache, dizziness, sensitivity to light or sound, confusion, disorientation, fatigue, or mood changes. If you notice anything wrong after falling and bumping your head, take it seriously. Go to the hospital for a CT scan, which will show signs of epidural hematoma even in its earliest stages.

Most of the time, however, talk and die syndrome doesn’t show any signs of injury. Victims may talk, laugh, walk, drive, and act completely normal until the pressure builds too much and impacts the brain. Most victims with undiagnosed epidural hematomas die just hours later. Lack of blood flow to the brain kills brain cells and eventually causes brain death. The best way to detect and treat talk and die syndrome before it’s fatal is to visit a hospital immediately after any type of accident involving the head – a sports accident, car crash, slip and fall, etc.

Any kind of trauma to the head and skull could potentially cause an epidural hematoma if it creates a closed head injury. A closed head injury is one in which the impact doesn’t cause an open wound to the skull. In other words, you cannot see any outward signs of injury. Yet under the surface, the injury may be causing serious problems, such as a buildup of blood from a hemorrhage. Don’t assume your head injury is just a minor bump or a concussion that will heal without treatment. Always seek professional medical opinion to diagnose your head injury after any kind of accident. Insist that the doctor do a CT scan to check for talk and die syndrome.

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Spencer Eisenmenger
Helping Kansas City area medical malpractice, product liability, birth injury and personal injury clients.