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dano7744 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

A broken neck or a cervical spine injury is a serious injury and often results in a fatality. When the spinal cord is severely damaged death may be immediate. However, the exact location of the injury and the extent of the injury determines survivability.

Cervical fractures high in the neck are almost always fatal. A C1 or C2 fracture (Fx) results in irreparable damage to the spinal cord. The cord may be cut through and through. Death by hanging usually results in a C2 Fx., thus the nickname "hangmans" Fx.

A general rule is that the lower down the spinal cord an injury is, the lower the death rate. However, lower spinal cord injuries still pose a significant health risk because the person may be paralyzed and otherwise be severely disabled.

besure77 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

No, a broken neck is not always fatal but still very serious. The bones in the neck are called cervical vertebrae and one of their main purposes is to protect the spinal cord. These vertebrae can become broken or dislocated but it really depends on whether the spinal cord was damaged or not. If the spinal cord was damaged, then symptoms can range anywhere from difficulty in breathing to paralysis. When there is a severe injury to the spinal cord, such as being cut or torn, death may occur because there is a loss of nerve supply to the entire body.