Nursing BlogsOpinion

Head Trauma: How to Know When to Visit the ER.


Comedian Bob Saget had just come off the stage from his stand-up bit when he fell and hit his head in his Florida hotel room. An autopsy has confirmed that he died of a severe head trauma. Saget also had no drugs or alcohol in his system at the time.

According to Saget’s family, he suffered a bump on his head and then went back to bed instead of seeking medical attention before passing away in his sleep.

We asked nurses to share their thoughts on Saget’s passing and what others can learn from the situation. Here’s what they had to say:

If knocked out – go to the ER. If you weren’t knocked out but are on blood thinners – go to the ER. If you weren’t knocked out and you are not on blood thinners – monitor yourself or have someone who will be close by. [If you notice] changes like lethargy, headache, or vomiting – go to the ER.


My grandmother fell and hit her head. She was a dialysis patient. She had a stroke the following day.


Vomiting, change in mental status (altered or GCS score), loss of consciousness, clear or bloody fluid draining for ears or nose, battle sign, or raccoon eyes… ED.


I couldn’t afford to go to the doctor every time I hit my head. I guess I will die in my sleep. That isn’t so bad.


I actually coded my friend after she fell on the ice and hit her head. She wouldn’t let me take her to the hospital, so I was monitoring her. She started seizing and coded at home due to a cracked skull and brain bleed. She is alive and well a year later!


He shouldn’t have stayed by himself if he fell and hit his head.


I’ve been in the medical field for 10 years. What is the number one rule after hitting your head? You do NOT go to sleep for approx. 2 hours after.


Anytime they hit their head. You never know.


Any signs of stroke: blurred vision, loss of balance, facial asymmetry, loss of movement or feeling on one side of your body or any new numbness or tingling in the body, slurred speech as well as an extreme headache that comes on suddenly. Or feeling of pressure in the head.

There is also the sleeping aid and alcohol that could’ve contributed to his death. Those together could cause a decrease in the central nervous system and lower the respiratory drive.


I tripped and fell into the tile wall of our shower/ tub. My family called 911, and there was some bleeding from a small gash, but I felt queasy and was disoriented, but never lost consciousness. I do not remember certain things, though. The ambulance arrived and took me to a trauma center, who determined no skull fracture, but a concussion.

They sent me home to recuperate, giving my adult daughters and husband instructions. I’m an RN but needed them to watch me. I STILL, after 4 years have a dent in my head, but it took me about 6 months to feel “normal.” Followed up with a family doctor. Families need to know what is “normal” for their family member and call regarding ANY deviation. 

In reality, there is not a fail-safe way to tell because everyone is so different. Maybe giving them a crash course in neuro assessment, but if they’re that questionable, they need to stay where professionals can care for them.


To be honest going to the emergency room isn’t that great of an option right now. I mean people are being sent away with serious trauma and issues because our healthcare system values money over time spent or doctors having to fight for every test and things that they want done. I mean how can we provide services when we have to call a 3rd party that’s gonna charge us $1,000 to do a test because I can’t look at your face and see that you have a blood clot in there.

I guess I just need to get my soap box out.


It makes no sense. They think he hit his head on the headboard. He would have to hit pretty hard to get a brain bleed. Maybe he fell in the shower? I think all head injuries should be assessed, especially if you’re alone.


My son knocked his head on the floor last night before bed and it was right after I read an article about Bob Sagat’s cause of death. Needless to say, I did NOT sleep well last night. My son did though and he’s fine today! ?


I am 67 years old, so I may have some risk factors. I was running backwards, doesn’t everyone?? And fell backwards onto concrete. I hit my head and tailbone. I was in pain and dazed. So, like an intelligent nurse I got up and drove home. I went to my Dr. the next day because I was really sore and dizzy. They seemed unimpressed. I was treated like I was drug seeking and my injury was really downplayed. Of course, I did not go back. The CRNP was just not listening to my story. I can’t say enough to listen to what people say.


A year or so ago my father-in-law was in a car accident, went to the ER and was deemed fine. No scans done. Weeks later he started having the dropsies and some other symptoms. Turns out he had a subdural hematoma that had a tiny leak. Surgery done. He’s fine.


Keeping someone awake or waking them up to “check on them” is out of date info. Concerning symptoms are loss of consciousness, repeated vomiting, confusion, and behavior changes. Increased risk if you are on anticoagulants. If in doubt, get it checked out.


Thank you to everyone who shared their opinions online. These responses have been edited for length and clarity. 

Steven Briggs
Steven Briggs is a healthcare writer for Scrubs Magazine, hailing from Brooklyn, NY. With both of his parents working in the healthcare industry, Steven writes about the various issues and concerns facing the industry today.

    State Mask Mandates Set to Expire, Creating Tensions for Schools

    Previous article

    How CBD can be used to treat epilepsy

    Next article

    You may also like