Welcome to Reality Check-In, in which the lovely and talented Dr. Heidi Paulin dismisses the medical plot-holes created by common writing tropes in movies, books, and television that have affected various levels of the Engen Universe!
This episode’s question: In “Becoming,” a character gets a sword slashed through half of their neck. Can you tell us the plausible health benefits to having a sword sliced half way through ones neck? And also any health risks, should they be possible.
Well now, that would depend on what part of the neck has been sliced! Is it the front (anterior), the rear (posterior) or lateral neck? Ah the lovely lateral neck? Well, a superficial slice may only give you a rad scar, and then you can walk around like a badass. A bit deeper, and you’ll injure or sever the sternocleidomastoid muscle, which allows you to flex your neck and turn your head to the opposite site. An injury to this, of course, gives you a valid medical excuse to avoid turning your head to check your blindspot while driving. Thus, you’re free to drive with abandon!
But you asked about a sword halfway through the neck. Well, a cut that deep and you’ll nick or sever the jugular vein and carotid artery. In the brief time before you bleed out (assuming no medical assistance is available), you can wow onlookers and imitate Jackson Pollack with your spurting blood (a better effect is achieved with only a nick of the carotid. Severing reduces the pressure of the blood spray). If you’re really talented you can maneuver you neck to aim your blood spray at the eyes of your attacker. An injury to the lateral neck will avoid the trachea and larynx, leaving you ability to scream intact (at least theoretically!). Now, some might argue these aren’t really health benefits, but that’s about the most positive spin I can put on such an incident.
I hope that explanation will suffice. 🙂