CERVICAL SPINE & CORD - Bruising of cord

The specimen consists of the upper part of the cervical spine of an infant, showing bruising of the upper part of the cord over some 2 cm of the central area. There is no obvious fracture of bone.
This child was admitted to hospital some hours after it began to vomit and convulse. A short time before this it had been found drinking a glass of wine left over from a party the previous evening; a blood alcohol level of 32 mg/100 ml was recorded some 10 hours after the time of ingestion. The child stopped breathing while in hospital and could not be resuscitated. At autopsy several bruises were found on the undersurface of the scalp and the brain was swollen and coning had occurred (necrosis of the cerebellar tonsils was demonstrated microscopically). X-rays showed no skeletal fractures; there was some bruising of the anterior longitudinal ligament of the neck; the bruising of the cord was thought to have occurred during hyperextension of the neck, possibly during a convulsion.