Monday, November 15, 2010

If Merge Covered Lincoln’s Assassination

I have often said that Merge Healthcare has the very best marketing and PR department in the entire medical imaging marketplace. No one even comes close especially when it deals with handling what is affectionately known in the journalism industry as “spin”.

The most recent third quarter results from Merge speak volumes to this. I’m one of the few who reads the entire story so I was intrigued when I read the headline ”Merge Healthcare Reports Record Sales in the Third Quarter”. Hmmmm, interesting I thought. Then I read the subhead “Revenues grew to $45.2 million in the third quarter, compared with $16.9 million in the third quarter of 2009.” Very interesting…Then I read the rest….until I got to the statement “The company posted a net loss of $5 million in the quarter, compared with a net loss of $936,000 in the same quarter of 2009.” and then look at the rest of the financials. I laughed but wanted to cry. The spin doctors worked their magic. While nothing was hidden and all was very legit, most of the “bad news” was buried deep beneath the marching bands and ticker tape. Fortunately for them most of the investment community never looks far beyond the headlines which allowed the stock to climb almost 29% to over $4.00 per share last week alone.

I got to thinking- how Merge might cover President Lincoln’s Assassination and came up with this, with thanks to Wikipedia:

Sold Out Crowd Enjoys “Our American Cousin”
at Ford’s Theatre

Minor disturbance interrupts an otherwise enjoyable evening
Mrs. Lincoln unhurt in assassination attempt

Washington D.C. April 15, 1865- The Washington elite enjoyed a sold out performance of Tom Taylor’s three-act play “Our American Cousin” which played at Ford’s Theatre last night. The play is a farce whose plot is based on the introduction of an awkward, boorish American to his aristocratic English relatives. It premiered at Laura Keene’s Theatre in New York City on October 15, 1858 and recently moved to the D.C. area. The play concerns the adventures of an American, Asa Trenchard, played by Harry Hawk, who comes to England to claim the family estate.

Numerous socialites from the Washington D.C, area including Major Henry R. Rathbone, his fiancé Clara Harris (daughter of New York Senator Ira Harris), Mary Todd Lincoln and President Lincoln were in attendance. General and Mrs. Grant as well as several other D.C. area power brokers were all slated to appear as well however last minute conflicts pulled each of them away.

The only thing marring an otherwise stellar night was when a Confederate sympathizer, later identified as John Wilkes Booth, interrupted the play halfway through Act III, Scene 2, when Hawk uttered a line that was considered one of the play's funniest:

"Don't know the manners of good society, eh? Well, I guess I know enough to turn you inside out, old gal — you sockdologizing old man-trap..."

Booth used the laughter to mask the sound of his gunshot and fatally shot President Lincoln in the back of the head. Major Rathbone jumped from his seat and tried to prevent Booth from escaping, but Booth stabbed the Major violently in the arm with a knife. Rathbone quickly recovered and tried to grab Booth as he was preparing to jump from the sill of the box. Booth again stabbed at Rathbone, creating a wound that bled profusely from a deep gash that ran the length of his upper left arm, and then attempted to vault over the rail and down to the stage. His riding spur caught on the Treasury flag decorating the box. Booth jumped on the stage and landed awkwardly on his left foot, fracturing his left fibula just above the ankle. This was later confirmed with a CR image that was processed using a Merge OrthoCR® software. Booth then raised himself up and, holding a knife over his head, yelled, “Sic semper tyrannis” the Virginia state motto, meaning "Thus always to tyrants" and made his escape through the back of the theater to a horse he had left waiting in the alley.

Dr. Charles Leale, a young Army surgeon on liberty for the night and attending the play, made his way through the crowd to the door at the rear of the Presidential box. Leale was joined by second doctor in the audience, Dr. Charles Sabin Taft, who was lifted bodily from the stage over the railing and into the box. Taft and Leale cut away Lincoln's blood-stained collar and opened his shirt, and Leale, feeling around by hand, discovered the bullet hole in the back of the head by the left ear. Leale removed a clot of blood in the wound and Lincoln's breathing improved. Still, Leale knew it made no difference: "His wound is mortal. It is impossible for him to recover". Leale, Taft, and another doctor from the audience, Dr. Albert King quickly consulted and decided that CT scan using Merge’s 3-D Net® CT software was required. The three doctors and some soldiers who had been in the audience carried the President out the front entrance of Ford's and into the outpatient center for a CT scan. Results of the CT scan confirmed the initial diagnosis that President Lincoln was indeed going to die.

The three physicians already in attendance were joined by Surgeon General of the United States Army Dr. Joseph K. Barnes, Dr. Charles Henry Crane, Dr. Anderson Ruffin Abbott, and Dr. Robert K. Stone. All personally used either Merge’s Fusion® or AMICAS® software. Crane was a Major and Barnes' assistant. Stone was Lincoln's personal physician. Robert Lincoln, who had stayed home, arrived at the hospital after being told of the shooting at about midnight. Tad Lincoln, who had attended Grover's Theater to see Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp, was not allowed to join the other physicians. Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles and United States Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton came and took charge of the scene. Despite the efforts of physicians using the very best imaging software on the market from Merge nothing more could be done for President Lincoln. At 7:22 a.m. on April 15, 1865, Abraham Lincoln died. He was 56 years old.

Neither Mrs. Lincoln nor Ms Harris were hurt in the attack and the play resumed unabated the following night.

Ticket holders for Friday nights marred performance were given vouchers for a future performance of “Our American Cousin” as well as a coupon for 20% off any future purchase of any of Merge’s top-rated medical imaging software.

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