Bob Saget died suddenly in January after accidentally falling in an Orlando hotel room and suffering a traumatic brain injury. The comedian and actor, most famous for his role in the sitcom Full House, was 65 when he died.
According to MedPage Today, initial reports said that Saget, who had just finished a stand-up show, returned to his hotel room and fell, hitting the back of his head on something. Initial reports say that no drugs or alcohol were involved and there were no signs of foul play.
The autopsy report from the Orange County Medical Examiner’s Office listed the cause of Saget’s death as “blunt head trauma,” and the manner of death accidental not tied to any illicit drugs or alcohol. Additionally, the comedian’s autopsy indicated that he had severe fractures to the back of his head and around the eyes when he died, according to People.
The question is how he managed to crawl into bed where he was found dead the next day, on January 9, by hotel security after suffering such severe injuries. Authorities theorize that he lost consciousness in the bathroom after his head hit the marble floor. It is believed that he regained consciousness and then dragged himself into bed.
Saget’s autopsy findings show extensive skull fractures and brain injuries including scalp abrasions, subgaleal hemorrhage (blood that forms between the skull and scalp), discoloration of the upper and lower eyelids due to skull fracture, and subarachnoid hemorrhage (bleeding in the space surrounding the brain.)
“What happened to Bob Saget is extremely tragic, but unfortunately, not uncommon,” said Dr. Leana Wen, an emergency physician. “Every year, more than 61,000 Americans die from traumatic brain injury, and many of these are due to falls.”
Wen explained that falling onto a hard surface like a bathtub or hard ground can cause the kind of injury that Saget experienced. She explained that a facture in the back of the skull can lead to fractures in other parts of the skull, and that force could also lead to bleeding in the brain.
“Because the skull is an enclosed structure, there is nowhere for blood to go except to press on the brain. That kind of pressure is what leads to unconsciousness and eventually to death,” said Wen. She and other experts say that even with such a severe blow to his head, he may have been able to find his way to the hotel bed.
“I have seen patients present to the ER days after the injury with ongoing bleeding. Others die within minutes,” said Wen. “It’s possible that Mr. Saget fell, thought he could sleep it off, then went to bed — but unfortunately never woke up.”
Wen says it is critical to take head injury very seriously. “Use an abundance of caution and seek medical care as soon as possible ― especially if the person is older, on blood thinners, or taking medications that might make someone sleepier.”
Go straight to the ER if you have symptoms of blurred vision, severe headache, severe nausea or vomiting, or stroke-like symptoms, said Wen.
“And make sure to tell someone that you fell, so they can keep checking on you.”
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