Neurologists and other medical experts continue to weigh in on unusual findings in the autopsy of comedian Bob Saget, who was found dead in a Ritz-Carlton hotel room in Florida last month.
Saget’s family summarized the findings of the autopsy after it was complete. “The authorities have determined that Bob passed from head trauma. They have concluded that he accidentally hit the back of his head on something, thought nothing of it and went to sleep. No drugs or alcohol were involved,” the family said shortly after his January 9 death.
But other medical specialists say the injuries do not appear to be consistent with a simple fall.
“This is a significant trauma. This is something I find with someone with a baseball bat to the head or who has fallen from 20 or 30 feet,” said Gavin Britz, neurosurgery chief at Houston Methodist medical center, according to The New York Times.
MSNBC did an extensive interview with Dr. Jason Freeman, a neurologist and stroke expert as well as the former medical director at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, D.C.
“I think the autopsy report does raise a number of questions about the nature and extent of the injuries,” Freeman said. “If we typically see slip and falls that that occur usually in the bathroom, someone hits the back of their head on the shower or the bathroom floor. These injuries described in detail in the autopsy report seem to go beyond that. And I think as you described in your opening this is where some of the medical professionals began to speculate about what could have caused the actual injuries.”
Asked about Saget’s injuries, Freeman said, “I would agree that the injuries as described just do typically form because of significant head trauma. So again, when someone slips and falls and hits the back of their head, there’s actually room for the brain to shift between the back in front of the head and cause some of the injuries as described in the autopsy report.”
“But the degree of those fractures, especially the orbital and frontal bones, is typically seen with high impact traumas that you might see in a motor vehicle accident, blunt force trauma, and again, someone particularly falling from a height. And so I think it raises the question, maybe was there more than one fall? Did he fall backwards and then fall forwards in an unprotected manner? And what was it that investigators found besides what was described in the autopsy report?” the neurologist said.
CNN’s chief medical reporter and neurosurgeon, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, also speculated about Saget’s injuries. “I think what it reveals more than anything else is this was not a simple bump on the head,” he said Friday on the network’s “New Day” program. “When you read this autopsy report that may still be the case, but it was a pretty significant blow to the head.”
A graphic shown on the show highlighted bones in Saget’s skull that were cited in the autopsy as being fractured, “which includes a stretch of bone from the front of his skull to his front temporal bone, in addition to fractures above his eye sockets,” The Daily Mail reported.
Freeman was asked if it is “possible one blow could have caused all the damage in his brain?”
“I think it is within the realm of possibility. This, the autopsy report, as described, just shows extreme findings. And I think that’s why people begin to question whether or not there’s more to the story, but it is possible.”
Freeman also said that it’s possible to suffer a serious head injury and then have a period of lucidity.
“I think it is quite possible that he got himself into bed. Sometimes after neurologic injuries and in an acute setting, people very often have what we call a lucid period where their thoughts and their sentences may be clear. They may be able to make some short decisions, but within a relatively short time period, they lose consciousness and, in this case, he was unlikely to regain consciousness due to the extent of his injury,” the neurologist said.
But Dr. Jeffrey Kazarian, an emergency physician and concussion expert at the University of Rochester Medical Center also quoted on MSNBC, said, “It’s like an egg cracking. You hit it in one spot and it can crack from the back to the front.”
Joseph Curl has covered politics for 35 years, including 12 years as White House correspondent, and ran the Drudge Report from 2010 to 2015. Send tips to [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @josephcurl.
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