A case report is presented of a patient who sustained a high cervical spine fracture, the possible mechanisms of injury and details of the fracture are discussed. The patient developed bilateral vagal nerve palsies 48 h after the accident. This complication was only recognized after dysphagia and an aspiration pneumonia developed. The complication of aspiration pneumonia was preventable. Meticulous and repeated examination of the cranial nerve function in this type of injury is recommended. Normal feeding should commence only when the cranial nerve function has been shown to be normal after repeated examination.
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