Source: Cleveland Medical Gazette
Source type: journal
Document type: editorial
Document title: “Criticism of the Late President’s Physicians”
Author(s): Smith, George Seeley
Date of publication: November 1901
Volume number: 17
Issue number: 1
|Smith, George Seeley. “Criticism of the Late President’s Physicians.” Cleveland Medical Gazette Nov. 1901 v17n1: pp. 49-50.|
|William McKinley (medical care: criticism: personal response); William McKinley (surgery); William McKinley (medical condition).|
Criticism of the Late President’s Physicians
We regret to see a tendency in certain quarters
to criticise the medical treatment of our late President.
Such criticism is as much out of place as it is uncalled for and is a product of the most brazen effrontery, showing either motives of a vindictive and unworthy order, or else giving evidence of a colossal conceit so pronounced that it closely resembles absolute ignorance.
Fortunately the bumptiousness of these self appointed [sic] critics is so apparent that their flippancy injures only themselves. 
It is refreshing to turn from such sickly criticism to the wholesome account of the medical aspect given by a lay author in the November number of Pearson’s Magazine. The matter is so well and concisely put that we take the liberty of making the following quotations: “Within thirty minutes after the attack upon the President two specialists in operations of this kind were at hand, and another was on his way as fast as a special train could carry him. To these surgeons the President’s wounds conveyed a single imperative demand: ‘Instant action.’ No governmental red tape now; no halting for consultation or the voice of vested authority; but coats off, and to work to save the most valued life in the country! The President was ready as he had been ready at every emergency in his career. ‘Do whatever you think necessary, gentlemen,’ he said. That was his calm assent to an operation from which he knew that he might not emerge.
The rapidity with which the operation was performed stands as a record of quick work in surgery. If prompt action could have saved him, the President would be alive still. Science did its utmost, but without the co-operation of Nature it was helpless. * * * The case of President McKinley was remarkable in its medical aspects. The rapid apparent improvement of the patient and his evidence of swiftly returning strength seemingly misled the physicians themselves into believing that he was on the way to recovery.
The actual conditions revealed by the death of the President proved that the symptoms that had caused the previous encouragement were altogether deceptive. There had been no slightest effort on the part of the bodily faculties to repair the damage that had been done. How it happened that Mr. McKinley seemed to be gaining so rapidly when really he was moving swiftly nearer and nearer to the grave the physicians themselves have not fully explained.”