If you haven't heard yet the actress Natasha Richardson, wife of Liam Neeson died this week from a head injury. She fell from a standing position onto snow while learning how to ski on the bunny slope. Reports say that after the fall she denied any complaints and refused any medical care. She was taken to her hotel room and about an hour later complained of a headache and other worsening head injury symptoms such as: dizziness, nausea, loss of consciousness. Since she was over an hour away from a hospital she was unable to survive the massive cerebral bleed and died about a day later.
First off I want to say what a horrible and sudden tragedy this is, she was only 45 and in excellent health. I hate for any family to deal with pointless tragedy.
Unfortunately, the media is using this as an opportunity to extol the extreme virtues of wearing helmets and considering making helmets mandatory to skiing. That's not to say that wearing appropriate safety gear isn't important but people have been skiing and falling for centuries without helmets and thousands survive.
What happened to Ms. Richardson is a horrible, one in a million freak accident that is (in my opinion) God's way of reminding us that we are mortal and to not get to big for our britches. If it truly is your time no amount of man made safety equipment or medical intervention will make any difference. I've seen patients whom I thought would not survive walk out of the hospital and I've seen patients who seem normal and healthy drop dead unexpectedly and we were unable to save them. I'm not disagreeing with using safety equipment what I'm try to say is that we should never believe that any type of safety equipment or medical care gives us any guarantee of life or health.
We should always make fully informed, rational decisions about anything we decide to undertake. Instead of completely trusting equipment or doctors to "save us";
I feel it is better to:
1) Learn how to fall properly (yes there are techniques to avoid serious injury, talk to any acrobat or martial artist and most people don't bother to learn these very simple techniques)
2) To take full responsibility for our actions, to remain completely and utterly focused on what we are doing and the situations surrounding us,
3) Learn how to drive properly and defensively (there is a wrong way - hence so many SUV rollovers because people don't learn to drive them properly. They don't handle like a car and are VERY easy to flip with or without Firestone tires, lol!)
4) Accept that everyday may well be our last on earth no matter what you do right or wrong because there are NO GUARANTEES in life, there are no doctors or paramedics who can predict the future regardless of how many tests they run on you or how often they "check you out"
5) Learn how to avoid panic every time the media discovers a new "danger" in life, News Flash: Life is full danger, will always be full of danger and no matter how much bubble wrap you coat yourself and your children in, it will never be enough if you don't learn how to make good choices.
6) You are better off learning how to prepare and calmly deal with the unexpected and teaching your children how to do so as well, because at the end of the day you can only depend on your ability to save yourself and your family because the government will not or can not save everyone all the time. (Financial Crisis? Hurricanes?)
7) You are your own best advocate for your life, no one else will make those hard decisions for you and you'll be stuck holding the bag because even deciding not to decide is a decision. Just a really bad decision with limited opinions.
America is lacking independence, common sense and responsibility and I see it daily as a paramedic. Just in the last decade I've seen more and more people who call 911 (the government) to come to their home at all hours and tell them what to do, how to do it and asking for a guarantee if things don't work out well. It will only continue to get worse and I just pray that I survive it with my health and soul intact.