Source: American Medical Monthly
Source type: journal
Document type: editorial
Document title: “The Treatment of the President”
Date of publication: October 1901
Volume number: 19
Issue number: 7
|“The Treatment of the President.” American Medical Monthly Oct. 1901 v19n7: pp. 272-73.|
|William McKinley (medical care: personal response).|
The Treatment of the President
The management of the President’s wounds by
the physicians who had charge of him will probably be the subject of controversy
for a long time to come. The circumstances were so unusual, the patient so distinguished,
the progress so apparently favorable for days and so suddenly changing disasterously
[sic], with a fatal termination, that inevitably the attending physicians
will come in for a certain amount of criticism.
It is fortunate that there were several physicians in attendance and that they were able to agree substantially upon the President’s condition and treatment. It is fortunate, also, that among these men were one or two of national reputation, and that all of them are men of good standing. The people trusted these men fully with their President’s life, and feel now, as they review their care of the case, that this trust was not betrayed.
The President’s physicians did well. It is hard to see how they could have done any better had they known exactly what was transpiring along the track of the bullet. That instead of healing, gangrene should occur, was so far out of the usual history of bullet wounds, as to cause surprise in every medical mind. Why did gangrene take place? This is a question that will become classic and will be the cause of endless discussion, for it is one of the things likely to remain a mystery.
The public rely upon the statements of the attending phy-  sicians and cares little about the details of the case, being absorbed in sorrow for the nation’s loss and in the concern that the murderer be punished: When this has been accomplished, there may be a few who will criticise and blame the doctors, but for this there will be no justification. They did what they could; were attentive and careful: and unless some facts are brought to light that do not now appear, they should receive only commendation for what they did under trying and most unusual circumstances.
A question of great interest to us is whether the result would have been different had the President been under homśopathic care. No man can say. And yet some of us have seen caries, gangrene and blood-poisoning change to a normal condition marvelously soon under the influence of rhus, lachesis, arnica or arsenicum. It is not an idle thought, therefore, that the administration of such a remedy, in accordance with the skilful [sic] tact of a homśopathic prescriber might have saved this valuable life.
Stranger things have happened, and many of us have been witnesses of restoration to health under circumstances which have forced us to acknowledge again and again the marvelous power of homśopathic remedies.
But whether the life of the President could have been thus saved we will never know.