No crime in the annals of this country
has so shocked the people and cast such universal gloom over the
land as has the assassination of President McKinley for as has often
been said: “He was a man of the people and the people loved him.”
But this paper is not a place to discuss
the martyr and his merits and we do not at this time care to discuss
the crime or the criminal—these have their reward—but certain features
and actions have arisen during the illness of the illustrious patient
that call for more than passing notice from the medical profession.
It was only a very short time after
the deplorable accident until we find a number of medical men who
had been “interviewed” on the subject and who without any reserve
or hesitation gave their opinion regarding the prognosis and the
relative chances for the recovery of the President.
This was done in the face of the silence
of the attending surgeons and the fact that in spite of the great
solicitude as well as the popular pressure brought to bear upon
those in attendance, they gave but little assurance and for the
most part only hopeful utterances.
It will be observed that most of the
mathematical statements made to the press, in St. Louis at least,
were made by those who had seen the smallest number of cases of
gunshot wounds, and not a few rushed into print,—oh beg pardon?
were forced to make prognostications, who had never treated such
a wound in their whole short life.
And then—when success seemed to be
about to crown the efforts of those in attendance and the rapid,
fatal, sinking supervened instead, what did the medical profession
do? Criticise those who had done all that mortal could do, and even
try to cast reflection on their actions.
The homœopath was not in it,” [sic]
only one of these boldly asserted “that the chances were good” though
criticisms made by the local surgeons upon the management of the
case were illtimed and without weight what can we think, when we
find such men as Cohen of Philadelphia, who rushed into the public
print almost as soon as the last breath was drawn and criticised
bitterly, certain actions in the conduct and management of the President’s
Any one who has made a study of this
class of injuries knows there is a bruised area around a bullet
wound and there follows as a result of such bruising (excepting
of course the effect of the newer firearm where the tissue is punched
out as though cut) more or less necrosis. This necrosis 
is as a rule taken care of by absorption and the wound heals uneventfully.
In case of a person whose age is advanced
beyond the period of fifty years and the life has been exacting—the
repair process is slow and sometimes arrested as it was in the case
of the President.
It is beyond the power of human skill
to tell the exact hour at which such death of tissue begins and
the effort at healing ceases.
The surgeons in this case did that
for which the highest authorities and the best judgment of every
one commended them, and it was a wonderful display of courage, a
wonderful fortitude of spirit[,] strength of nerve and commendable
skill that enabled them to operate when and as they did. The course
of the illness afterward showed that the work had been well done
and when the limit of the fourth day had been reached it is little
wonder that the surgeons and the whole country were optimistic.
But there is always somebody who is
the height of wisdom, and, as we have before stated in this journal
they are found in professional ranks; they can do nothing wrong
themselves and desire to pass judment [sic] on everybody
else and their work. It is disgusting and a disgrace. How can any
man who has not seen and whose only knowledge is from necessarily
meager reports, judge of the merits and demerits of the case and
the judgment of the operator? The mighty mind of these critics none