Report: Natasha Richardson’s First Ambulance Call Was Turned Away

Canada’s Globe and Mail reports that the first ambulance call to actress Natasha Richardson, who died last night after sustaining a head injury during a skiing accident, was turned away because her condition did not appear to be serious.

Yves Coderre, director of operations at Ambulances Mont-Treblant, says that ski patrollers at Mont-Treblant resort requested an ambulance after the accident. However, Richardson appeared fine and when the ambulance arrived, they declined medical help, cancelling the call. (Richardson, who wasn’t wearing a helmet, took a seemingly innocuous fall on a beginner’s slope.)

“[The ambulance workers] never saw the patient,” Coderre tells the paper, “so they turned around.”

However, Richardson’s condition soon deteriorated, and by the time a second ambulance arrived at Hotel Quintessence, Richardson was conscious but “wasn’t in good shape.”

Richardson was transported to a hospital in Sainte-Agathe, then to a Montreal hospital. Eventually she was airlifted to Lenox Hilll hospital in New York, where family members (Richardson was the daughter of Vanessa Redgrave and the wife of Liam Neeson) rushed to her side.

Coderre notes that it’s not uncommon for sufferers of head trauma to believe they are fine at first, which is a potentially fatal mistake.

“When you have a head trauma, you can bleed. It can deteriorate in a few hours or a few days,” Coderre offers. “People don’t realize it can be very serious. We warn them they can die, and sometimes they start to laugh. They don’t take it seriously.”