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Monday, January 22nd 2007

Medical Conference To Debate Life's Great Mysteries

Would President Lincoln have survived if he had had access to today’s trauma centers?

I talked to Dr. Philip Mackowiak, chief of the medical service at VA Maryland Health Care System and organizer of the annual Historical Clinicopathological Conference.

He’s bringing in the head of a shock trauma unit to talk about “how would Lincoln be treated if he were taken care of in our shock trauma unit, and what would the likely outcome be.”

Here’s a preview of the trauma chief’s findings, courtesy of Mackowiak:

“Since the whole left side of his brain was blown away by this miniball, minie ball [bullet*], what he’s going to say is that he would have saved his life, but [Lincoln] would have been severely incapacitated mentally.”

In anycase the readers of Bodyhack ignore the “coolness” of this conference and diverge into an argument over the term miniball/minie ball, like dummies. So read the blog entries (a follow up one is here) at your own risk.

I would be there in three seconds if I was anywhere near Maryland. As a Civil War buff (at least former – asked what I wanted to do for spring break my junior year in high school we drove up and down the eastern theater visiting relevant battle sites) I think this sounds like an awesome idea.

[13th Annual Historical Clinicopathological Conference]