There's general agreement among faculty doctors who have read the record that Leale did well, given the circumstances and medical knowledge at the time. If they traveled in time back to 1865, they said, they probably couldn't have saved him.
"In the 1860s, Lincoln had a fatal injury," Scalea said.
The modern prognosis predicts more than a vegetative state - and conceivably, the patient might recover enough to return to the White House to carry on the work he foresaw in his second term, healing the divided nation's war wounds.
"Would he be 100 percent? No," Scalea said. "Brain injuries are an unpredictable thing."
Mackowiak initiated the series of historical patient conferences at the School of Medicine. The first forum focused on poet Edgar Allan Poe, who was born the same year as Lincoln and who seemingly died of alcohol-related causes after being found deliriouson a Baltimore street in 1849.
In past conferences, the doctor said, the cause of death was the question, with perplexing medical cases such as conqueror Alexander the Great and composer Ludwig van Beethoven. The point of today's exercise is whether a historical figure could have been saved with modern medical doctors, techniques and technologies.
"Nobody has dealt with this `What if?' scenario before," Mackowiak said.
The conference will be held at Davidge Hall, a neoclassical structure built in 1812, when Lincoln was a boy on the prairie.
To add political context to the medical narrative, a writer on the presidency, Steven Lee Carson, will speak on the consequences of Lincoln's death.
In the end, Scalea said, holding Lincoln's case up to modern light is more than a parlor game. The official government protection plan is to bring the president to Shock Trauma, he said, if the president is shot in Maryland.
"Here is something, an event that altered world history, and maybe we'll take a minute to reflect on what it's really all about," he said.
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