Well Hung


Hangman-5 According to one of my attendings, the phrase comes from the priapism a spinal cord injury causes, indicating a successful hanging. Of course, due to a Hangman’s fracture.

  1. #1 by JR - December 8th, 2009 at 09:20

    That attending is brilliant!

  2. #2 by Chris Nickson - December 8th, 2009 at 22:16

    That’s a great reminder to check for priapism in a potential neck injury!

    As a brief aside, the term Hangman’s fracture is somewhat confusing.

    We typically see a hangman’s fracture after a fall or a motor vehicle crash. The mechanism involves hyper-extension with a degree of axial loading and/or lateral flexion. This results in bilateral C2 pedicle fractures with varying degrees of disc and/or ligamentous disruption between C2 and C3. This type of injury is also called traumatic spondylolisthesis.

    In a judicial hanging the classic injury is bilateral C2 pedicle fractures with distraction of C2 from C3 due to complete disruption of the disc and ligaments between these two vertebrae. This results from hyperextension combined with distraction.

    Thus the mechanisms and patterns of injury are not quite the same. Either way, for the ER doc it’s time to get on the phone…

  3. #3 by Nick - January 8th, 2010 at 16:57

    Interestingly, the past tense of ‘hang’ (when referring to an execution) is ‘hanged’ — see http://www.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/hanged.html

  4. #4 by Emilia Coutee - April 20th, 2012 at 05:21

    This reminded me of the game Hangman. I used to play it when I was young. But actually, I am still playing it for it is fun.

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