The medical examiner ruled her death an accident, and doctors said she might have survived had she received immediate treatment. However, nearly four hours elapsed between her lethal fall at her admission to a hospital
The Tony-winning actress suffered from an epidural hematoma, which causes bleeding between the skull and the brain's covering, said Ellen Borakove, a spokeswoman for the New York City medical examiner's office.
Such bleeding is often caused by a skull fracture, and it can quickly produce a blood clot that puts pressure on the brain. That pressure can force the brain downward, pressing on the brain stem that controls breathing and other vital functions.
Patients with such an injury often feel fine immediately after being hurt because symptoms from the bleeding may take time to emerge.