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Could Modern Medicine Have Saved Lincoln? - General Civil War Talk - Civil War Talk - Civil War Interactive Discussion Board
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 Posted: Mon May 21st, 2007 02:57 pm
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HankC
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Parts of this give me the heebie-jeebies ;)

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/05/20/AR2007052000873.html?hpid=moreheadlines



 Posted: Mon May 21st, 2007 03:31 pm
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Albert Sailhorst
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IF he had survived, Johnston, as VP, would still have become Prsident, since Lincoln would have NOT had the capacity to execute the Office of President.



 Posted: Mon May 21st, 2007 08:49 pm
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younglobo
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interesting but not of much use for anything but speculation

 



 Posted: Tue May 22nd, 2007 03:04 am
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Basecat
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Evening all.

Stuff like this cracks me up.  What's next??  An article on whether modern medicine would have eliminated the use of amputation during the Civil War?  Just my opinion, but anything could be written about  Abe today in this ilk and would become major "news". 

Extra ...Extra...  Lincoln had a foot odor problem.  Could it have been cured using today's medicine?  Join us as we have an exclusive interview with Dr. Scholl...tonight at Eleven. :)

Hope you all are Jellin' like McClellan.:)

Regards from the Garden State,

Steve Basic



 Posted: Tue May 22nd, 2007 04:26 am
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susansweet
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I love Jellin like McClellan!!!  What's next could Ceasar have been saved from his stabbing , Oh how about a fire proof suit for Joan of Arc.  I thought this was the silliest article .  I am not a fan of what if's anyway . 



 Posted: Tue May 22nd, 2007 02:07 pm
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David White
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Albert:

Actually no, it would have been like Woodrow Wilson where no one was specified.  Playing more counterfactual I assume Stanton probably would have run things.  The succession issue for incapacity wasn't  brought in until the 25th amendment after the Kennedy assasination.

Basecat:

Modern surgeons tell me the answer would be probably no, we'd still be amputating limbs if we were still shooting non-jacketed low velocity Minnie Balls that shattered bone.  I know a tangent to the thread and your point but more evidence that under the circumstances the CW doctors were not total hacksaw happy barbarians as the general public thinks.



 Posted: Tue May 22nd, 2007 02:26 pm
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HankC
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David White wrote: Albert:

Actually no, it would have been like Woodrow Wilson where no one was specified.  Playing more counterfactual I assume Stanton probably would have run things.  The succession issue for incapacity wasn't  brought in until the 25th amendment after the Kennedy assasination.


 

I agree with you David.

Arguably, until FDR, presidents (and the federal government) really did not do very much. If they had a particular plank or pet issue, they may push it.

The advent of radio and then television allows the president to better project themselves to the electorate.



 Posted: Tue May 22nd, 2007 05:06 pm
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HankC
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Basecat wrote: Evening all.

Stuff like this cracks me up.  What's next??  An article on whether modern medicine would have eliminated the use of amputation during the Civil War?  Just my opinion, but anything could be written about  Abe today in this ilk and would become major "news". 



The author pretty much agrees with you...here's a bit from the online duscussion:

Burke, Va.: Don't take this the wrong way, but what is the real purpose of going through 'what if' exercises like this? While a testament to the incredible medical advances that have taken place since then, esp. the last 30-40 years or so and an interesting exercise, it just seems to be a waste of time. Seems like the medical community did all they could with the knowledge and equipment they had at the time.

David Brown: The main purpose, I think, is that it is interesting. Secondary reasons are that it is entertaining and it is also a vehicle to tell people in the audience (and the newspaper) a little something about medical care and physiology. How many people knew before this that if you "decompress" the abdominal cavity of many trauma patients you lower their intracerebral pressure? (I sure didn't). The historical "what-if" speculation, I agree, is pretty pointless, but it, as well, is a vehicle for explaining what did happen and what the effect of a historical event was. The U of Md./VA presentation had a historian talk about presidential success and invalidity; unfortunately I couldn't get into that in the story.



 Posted: Tue May 22nd, 2007 05:12 pm
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Albert Sailhorst
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David,

Thanks for the info, but now I am confused! Article II, Section I (preceeding the 25th Amendment) of the Constitution specifies:

"In case of the removal of the President from office, or of his death, resignation, or inability to discharge the powers and duties of the said office, the same shall devolve on the Vice President, and the Congress may by law provide for the case of removal, death, resignation or inability, both of the President and Vice President, declaring what officer shall then act as President, and such officer shall act accordingly, until the disability be removed, or a President shall be elected. "

As I understand the above BOTH President AND Vice President would have to be incapacitated, etc., in order for the Congress to determine who would become President.

Please help clear up my confusion!

Thanks!

Albert Sailhorst



 Posted: Tue May 22nd, 2007 05:13 pm
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Albert Sailhorst
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Besides, Johnson became President, regardless, so why would he have not still become President, had Lincoln lived? Had he lived, he wouldn't be physically able to finish his term?



 Posted: Tue May 22nd, 2007 06:19 pm
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David White
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Albert there is an "and" in between those two events.  Prior to the 25th amendment the VP only took over upon the death, the 25th clarified that he took over for incapacity and resignation as well.  A vegetable President prior to the 25th throws the law into ambiguity, sort of like seccession, it isn't properly addressed.  As you know the situation did occur with Woodrow Wilson and his wife ran the show until he recovered sufficiently to partially assume the office again.



 Posted: Wed May 23rd, 2007 03:34 am
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Doc C
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Would penicillin have made A.P. Hill a better general?

Doc C



 Posted: Wed May 23rd, 2007 12:51 pm
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Albert Sailhorst
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David, Thanks!....I kind of understand what you're saying, but I am still confused. If Artilce II, Section I is read this way, in my way of thinking, it still suggests succession (which makes me further agree with you that it is thrown into ambiguity!):

In case of the...... inability to discharge the powers and duties of the said office, the same shall devolve on the Vice President.......

The "and" part, to whic you refer, says to me that both President and VP would have to resign, die or otherwise become incapacitated in order for Congress to declare what officer shall act as President.

Again, I agree with you as to it being ambigious.....I reckon that's why there's a Supreme Court; to iron this stuff out!

I suppose it's like arguing Seccession (again, as you suggest, and I agree!) ....it can be justified, and, at the same time, not justified!

Thanks!

 

Albert Sailhorst



 Posted: Thu May 31st, 2007 12:52 am
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JoanieReb
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Would penicillin have made A.P. Hill a better general?

Doc C

Actually, Doc, I have wondered about this a lot. 

Well, not about his being a better general:  I have no doubt that, if Little Powell was not so dehabilitated by his prostritis, his performance would have been infinitely better.  Better Performance = Better General. 

But, he would have had to be treated by penicillin right after his initial infection for it to make a difference, I think?  After gonorrhea becomes systemic, isn't it viral, and needs to be treated as such, which is much more complicated? 

I know this seems a bit off track, but I have tried to understand the illnesses that that made a difference in the outcome of TWBTS, and since General A.P. Hill was a very effective when well, but often very ill general, his illness did make difference,  I think. 

And, in the long run, I think it was viral instead of bacterial?

Just wondering....

Thanks,

Joanie



 Posted: Thu May 31st, 2007 01:36 am
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Doc C
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GC is a bacteria in the same family as meningococcus, streptococcus. For the most part still sensitive to penicillin, however some resistant strains have arisen. Don't understand the comment about viral. Some of the most gruesome pictures from the cw are of individuals with terminal syphillus. I agree with you in regards to A.P. Hill. It would be interesting to look at the various engagements he was in and his state of health to see if it did possibly make a difference. I think we can safely say that at Gettysburg health issues were present with this individual. I believe I read that he had difficulty sitting on his horse due to his prostatis. (An interesting footnote with Hill, is that during his first leave as a cadet at West Point, the commandant forbade all cadets to stop in NYC due to previous problems with other cadets. Hill unfortunately didn't heed his commanders orders, therefore picking up his love bug. Later McClellen's future mother in law spread rumors concerning Hill's disease and daliences therefore causing the end of her daughters engagement to Hill, therefore opening the door for McClellen.) Did GC effect his judgement/actions, again its speculation/what if. But isn't that what interests us anyway.



Doc C



 Posted: Thu May 31st, 2007 02:36 am
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JoanieReb
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Doc,

It's been over a decade since my undergraduate and graduate classes in virology, immunology, and bacteriology - and God knows, the first two fields change so quickly that if you aren't doing active research in them (and I'm not) you're almost lost in the dust every other year.

But, I don't think the basics have changed.  And, if I recall correctly, there are two basic ways that a bacterial infection can become systemic (that is, recurring - I think the medical sciences and the molecular biologies speak slightly different languages, which is good, since physicians have to be able to communicate with laymen better).

The first way is thru continued development of antibiotic resistance by the bacteria; the second is thru the bacteria becoming integrated into a viral vector, thus, becoming virally expressed instead of bacterially expressed.  Since antibiotics didn't even exist at the time of TWBTS, I have assumed that AP Hill's recurring bouts were due to the original bacterial expression "going viral".  Because, the immune system back then should have been able to overcome, with finality, a bacterial infection - or else it would overcome, with finality, the person.  But a viral infection would go dorment and then recur.  If I recall correctly, I was taught to think in terms of "latentecy": if a bacterial infection became latent, then expressed under stress, chances are it had gone viral. 

That's what I meant by going viral.

Anyway, it's a moot point, just one of personal curiousity to me today.  And, I bet if I asked two virolgists about it tomorrow, they'd get into a heated argument and I'd leave in frustration.

I guess all that matters is, Little Powell had big problems because of contracting  gonorrhea when he was a young man....

And, let me just say this, in case what I was saying  sounded like something I hear too often:  People with advanced degrees in the molecular biologies (physiology, microbiology, biochemistry) trying to one-up physicians, and vice versa:  A friend of mine with a Ph'd in biochemistry/molecular biology decided to try out his "Dr." status by signing onto an overseas airflight as "Dr.".  A passenger became ill, the flight list was consulted, and this so-called "Dr." was consulted.  When he admitted his "Dr." was a "Ph'd", the stewardess became furious, how DARE he mislead them!  And she was RIGHT. 

Physicians know how to treat illness in reality.  Researchers only do in theory.

Last edited on Thu May 31st, 2007 04:34 am by JoanieReb



 Posted: Thu May 31st, 2007 06:18 am
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ole
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Good stuff! Reminds me of the History Channel. Mostly, I couldn't care less about the program, but I never fail to pick up a bit of knowledge along the way. Thanks to all of you.

Ole



 Posted: Thu May 31st, 2007 10:10 am
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Doc C
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Joanie

Still confused on your terminology (just because I don't understand it doesn't mean it doesn't exits). I'm not aware of a viral connection with GC or of it converting into a viral form.

Most of my information on Hill's early years and exploits comes from Waugh's Class of 1846. Waugh does a very good job in telling us about Jackson, Hill, McClellen, etc while they were at West Point. His opinion was that many of the key players at Appomatox and the drawing up of the surrender terms were acquaintances and classmates at WP which resulted in more favorable terms for the south and caused a smoother, less violent surrender.

Doc C



 Posted: Thu May 31st, 2007 01:31 pm
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Albert Sailhorst
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Sheesh!!!....It's gettin' so's a feller has to be a doctor or a lawyer to read these posts!!....heehee....

Just kidding!!....There's some excellent research and excellent exchange of information going on here!!

Thanks, y'all!!



 Posted: Thu May 31st, 2007 03:09 pm
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David White
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;) Just make sure there are no exchanges of the diseases under discussion and stay out of Boy's Town, Brenham and the Chicken Ranch, right Doc?



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