Commentology > More On Natasha Richardson

Dr. Cory Franklin dropped us a note in response to THCB contributor Sarah Arnquist’s piece on the controversy surrounding the death of British actress Natasha Richardson, “Leave Natasha Richardson Out of the Healthcare Debate.” 

“I wrote the article and have been reluctant to respond to criticisms
but since I read your blog I will here. So many people, both sides, are
tied into their political beliefs about health care that virtually no
one is actually looking at the record as we know it and asking a quite
logical question.

1. Here’s what’s important- the facts of this case- check the 911
transcripts in the Globe and Mail. The paramedics document the patient
has a Glascow Coma Score of 12 upon arrival to the first hospital at
St. Agathe. That is the key. The medical literature is quite clear –
patients who present with scores in that range on presentation almost
always survive. Where are the Canadian neurosurgeons and trauma people
commenting on that? The questions that should be asked in light of that
are who made the diagnosis and when, who treated and when, and what was
the condition upon treatment. But it is clear that at 4 PM she was
neurologically intact enough to survive with the appropriate treatment.
By the way, this major ski resort is no further from Montreal than Vail
or Breck is from Denver. And the Canadian defenders talk about how
close it is by ambulance to minimize the medevac issue. You can’t have
it both ways.

2. I am not criticizing all Canadian health care. This is merely one
case and it looks like there is a hole somewhere in the regional trauma
system. It is disturbing more people aren’t focusing on that. We have
our problems in the US, I mentioned that in the article and have
written about them and my point is that policymakers on both sides of
the border should be examining this case. I hope that happens.”

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The comments made about the flying doctor service in Australia being attributed to the best marine rescue survival rates are somewhat misleading. Firstly there is no data which can back this up. Secondly, this service although very well respected in Aus, has never had anything to do with marine rescue or helicopters. The service provides fixed wing aircraft only – mostly to remote inland areas.


Great information and analysis. I hope that is what we can learn from Natasha’s unfortunate demise as well.


To their credit, Montreal trauma and neurosurgeons are speaking out on the issue now, refuting some of the mistaken information being put forward on blogs and the MSM. This was part of the point I was trying to make, made eloquently here in the Montreal Gazette. And while I am not sure that the point about American helicopters is true (though the issue is out there and should be discussed) one hopes, we in the United States approach our problems with the same level of candor. Exclusive: Leading MD calls for air ambulances APRIL 1, 2009 2:02 PMCOMMENTS (1) A… Read more »