MONDAY, Feb. 14, 2022 (HealthDay News) – Comedian Bob Saget died after a severe blow to his head fractured his skull in several spots and caused bleeding across both sides of his brain, an autopsy report shows.
“It is most probable that the decedent suffered an unwitnessed fall backwards and struck the posterior aspect of his head,” the report by the chief medical examiner of Orange and Osceola counties in Florida stated.
But questions remain about how exactly Saget, 65, was so badly hurt. He was found dead in a hotel room at the Ritz-Carlton Orlando, Grande Lake, on Jan. 9 during a weekend of stand-up comedy performances. His family said this week that the authorities determined that he had hit his head, “thought nothing of it and went to sleep.”
If the actor struck his head hard enough, and in just the wrong place, it is possible that fractures would have extended to other parts of his skull, brain injury experts told The New York Times.
“It’s like an egg cracking,” said Dr. Jeffrey Bazarian, an emergency physician and concussion expert at the University of Rochester Medical Center. “You hit it in one spot, and it can crack from the back to the front.”
But experts said that with such an extensive injury, it was unlikely that Saget could have ignored it since that severe an injury would likely have left him confused, if not unconscious.
“I doubt he was lucid,” Bazarian told the Times, “and doubt he thought, ‘I’m just going to sleep this off.’”
However, the autopsy found no injuries to other parts of Saget’s body, as would be expected in a lengthier fall. The medical examiner ruled that the death was accidental.
“This is significant trauma,” Dr. Gavin Britz, chair in neurosurgery at Houston Methodist, told the Times. “This is something I find with someone with a baseball bat to the head, or who has fallen from 20 or 30 feet.”
Britz noted that the autopsy described fractures to particularly thick parts of the skull, as well as to bones in the roof of the eye socket. “If you fracture your orbit,” he said, referring to those eye bones, “you have significant pain.”