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"His wound is mortal; it is impossible for him to recover" - The Final Hours of President Abraham Lincoln

The Injury

His wound is mortal; it is impossible for him to recover.
Dr. Charles A. Leale

Immediately after the shot was heard, Dr. Charles A. Leale, an Army Surgeon attending the play, entered the state box and found Lincoln in a state of general paralysis and his eyes closed. He was in a profoundly comatose condition with stertorous breathing and no perceptible pulse. Leale lifted the president's eyelids and observed evidence of brain injury. While searching for the wound, he discovered a clot situated about one inch below the superior curved line of the occipital bone.

Leale cleared the clot of blood and passed the little finger of his left hand through the perfectly smooth opening made by the ball, and found it had entered the encephalon. As soon as he removed his finger, Lincoln’s breathing became more regular. Leale then performed artificial respiration until he saw that Lincoln was breathing independently.

After administering brandy and water, Leale and two other Army doctors, Charles S. Taft and Albert F. A. King, carried Lincoln to the Petersen House, across the street from the theater.