The ABC News Medical Unit asks an important question: Can a brain injury lead to death years after it occurs?
One example they provide is of Timothy Whalen’s recent death from unknown causes. According to ABC, officials are investigating the possible link between his death and atraumatic brain injury that he sustained eight years ago.
The article goes on to say that “in fact, research shows that those who suffer from the most severe brain injuries are statistically more likely to die early — from a variety of causes”.
ABC quotes Dr. Steven Flanagan, director of The Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine at the New York University Langone Medical Center in New York City as saying “there are a couple of lines of evidence to suggest that after a particularly acute brain injury that you have shorter life expectancy, even if you survive the acute injury phase”.
There are a handful of studies that seem to validate this view, but it’s difficult to create a direct correlation between a traumatic brain injury and a death years later. With Whalen’s autopsy still in the future, the jury is still out on this one.