Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP
Napa Quake Sends TV Flying, Causes Fatal Brain Injury

As Rong-Gong Lin II reports for the Los Angeles Times, California’s August 2014 earthquake in Napa – which registered 6.0 on the Richter scale – has claimed its first death. A woman was struck in the head by her TV, which came flying at her during the quake, according to the 65-year-old woman’s daughter. (See: “Napa earthquake death: 2 weeks later, quake claims first victim.”)

The woman, Laurie Thompson, died one week ago Friday from an intracranial hemorrhage.

Aug. 24 Napa Quake: ‘Worst Shaking […] in Region’s Modern History’

Lin writes that the Aug. 24 quake “produced the worst shaking to be recorded in the region’s modern history” and, according to a California geologist, at 6.0 the quake was big enough to move objects, like Thompson’s old tube TV.

Yesterday, President Obama declared the quake a federal disaster, which could mean millions of federal funds provided for the clean up and rebuild effort.

What is an intracranial hemorrhage?

For Thompson, it apparently started as a dull headache, but soon progressed to a “horrible” one. Thompson had been knocked unconscious, but had no outward signs or symptoms of any brain trauma after she regained consciousness – just a black eye and a headache.

It wasn’t until she collapsed in the shower and suffered a seizure – just before her headache got bad enough that she was heading to the hospital – that doctors discovered a “massive subdural hematoma.”

According to the Mayo Clinic, a subdural hematoma (or brain bleed) is when the blood vessels rupture and lead to a loss of consciousness and possible death. Symptoms include vomiting, drowsiness, dizziness, confusion, and slurred speech.

Another symptom is increasing headache.

As Lin points out in her Los Angeles Times report, people are more likely to be seriously injured or killed from falling or flying debris (in an earthquake, that is) than they are because they were inside a collapsing structure. Falling and flying debris, unsecured to the walls, can cause intracranial hemorrhage or a related traumatic brain injury.

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