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Monday, July 10, 2023

Could You Have a Traumatic Brain Injury and Not Realize It?

Posted By: Advancing Care
"My physicians’ quick thinking and generosity helped save my life," said Aleyamma Menon.

A minor fall resulted in a potentially serious brain injury for Aleyamma Menon, 80, a resident of Grand View-on-Hudson and a staff nurse for 35 years at WMCHealth’s Good Samaritan Hospital. Menon slipped as she exited the shower, lost her balance and hit her head on the wall. She is now back to feeling like herself after suffering the fall in March of this year.

At the time, she did not experience any noticeable symptoms; nothing seemed off and she continued her daily routine and activities, even traveled with her husband to Europe and drove the long distance to Florida. 

However, in May, Menon began experiencing frequent headaches that became more severe. She accompanied her husband to an appointment with Mill Etienne, MD, a neurologist at Good Samaritan Hospital. 

Dr. Etienne evaluated Menon and ordered an MRI which revealed a subdural hematoma, or brain bleed. 

"A subdural hematoma is a type of bleed that occurs in the skull but outside actual brain tissue," said Dr. Etienne. "This type of bleed can be very serious, and we needed to address the bleeding immediately.”

A subdural hematoma can be caused by a traumatic injury, such as a fall. Symptoms can include headaches, confusion, drowsiness, nausea and vomiting along with slurred speech, vision changes, dizziness and loss of balance.

Dr. Etienne consulted Jeffrey S. Oppenheim, MD, a neurosurgeon at Good Samaritan Hospital, and surgery was performed that day. After a brief stay, Menon was discharged from the hospital on Mother's Day and celebrated at home with her family..

Mill Etienne, MD
Mill Etienne, MD

"Getting this patient into surgery right away was crucial," said Dr. Oppenheim. "The pressure caused by a subdural hematoma can be fatal if left untreated promptly. This is especially true for older adults."

Menon has continued to heal well. "My physicians’ quick thinking helped save my life," she said. “I am grateful to the great team of doctors involved in my care throughout my stay at Good Samaritan Hospital.”

A minor fall, particularly in older adults, can cause severe injuries. Menon suggested that anyone who has a fall should seek medical care, even if they do not have any symptoms. "It is important to get evaluated by a doctor," she stated. "A head injury can be serious even if it does not seem like it at first."

If you or someone you know has suffered a head injury, seek medical attention immediately. For more information about neurological and neurosurgical services at Good Samaritan Hospital, visit Neurology or Neuro-Spine Surgery.