By Wyatt Earp | April 14, 2009
There is an historical debate raging with respect to the 16th president, and it is raging in my own backyard.
Apparently, scientists believe that Abraham Lincoln was dying of cancer when he was shot by John Wilkes Booth in 1865. The trouble is that they would have to damage a priceless artifact to confirm or deny the claims.
History comes alive, indeed.
One hundred and forty-four years ago tomorrow, Abraham Lincoln was watching a play at Ford’s Theatre in Washington when John Wilkes Booth slipped into the president’s box and shot him.
Lincoln died the next morning, and now his blood and brain matter - on part of a pillowcase at a Philadelphia museum - are being sought for DNA testing that may definitely solve a medical mystery.
Was the 16th president dying of cancer at the time of the assassination?
How bizarre would that be? Could have saved Booth some time and effort, huh?
John Sotos, a cardiologist, an author, and a consultant for the television series House, wants to test the artifact to confirm what eyewitness accounts and 130 period images already tell him: Lincoln had a rare genetic cancer syndrome called multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2B (MEN2B).
But Sotos’ request has stirred an ethical and scientific debate on the board of directors of the Grand Army of the Republic Museum and Library, an off-the-beaten-path Civil War institution in the city’s Frankford section.
I have to be honest, I never even knew this Museum existed. I feel much shame.
Should the museum grant permission for the testing and enjoy the spotlight when the results are announced?
Or should it reject Sotos’ request, avoid damaging the artifact, and honor the wishes of Robert Todd Lincoln to leave his father in peace? (H/T - Philly.com)
Personally, I think they should leave the pillowcase alone. Whether or not Lincoln was dying of cancer is immaterial. It is interesting, but not interesting enough to damage the artifact. Robert Todd Lincoln’s wishes should be honored in my opinion.
Topics: Philly |