Publication information

Source type: journal
Document type: editorial
Document title: “Our Martyr President”
Author(s): anonymous
Date of publication: 15 September 1901
Volume number: 22
Issue number: 9
Pagination: 497-98

“Our Martyr President.” Clinique 15 Sept. 1901 v22n9: pp. 497-98.
full text
William McKinley (death: personal response); William McKinley (medical care: personal response); William McKinley (medical care: criticism: personal response).
Named persons
William McKinley.

Our Martyr President

     The sad events of the past week have chilled the spirit and pierced the heart of our nation. Our President, loved and honored for his character and ability, has been taken from us by the dastardly act of an assassin. All the resolutions of sympathy, all the devotion of his people and all the science of medicine and surgery have availed us nothing. The tenderest care, the deepest affection, the most vigilant efforts of devoted and able attendants have not saved the life so valuable to all. The prayers of the people, the good will and the tender anxiety of the world could not stay the inevitable physical law and death has shown its power in the face of exalted position. We have been forced to commit our beloved McKinley to the dust of the earth just as the experience of the past has told us of an eventual end for all mankind. The hero, the conqueror, the wise and the worthy of all degree come face to face with this final problem in due course of time. The world stands aghast at the sad turn of fate; the heartfelt sorrow of a mighty people finds expression in the silence of a tear; hope and effort can do nothing; the regular trend of affairs go on the same as ever; the government still lives, but our beloved President is gone. The memory of a great ruler, the mark of an exemplary character, have left a national imprint which time cannot efface; this heritage will be cherished forever. Sonnets may be sung, epitaphs may be written, eulogies may be pronounced, but deeper than all this there exists a profound sorrow which words fail to express. William McKinley, the man, was mightier than William McKinley, the President. As the man he will outlive the generation which knew him.
     It may seem unnatural for a medical journal to touch the news of the regular press, but every publication which [497][498] has the loyal spirit must bespeak the sorrow of its constituents. More than this we cannot do; less than this we should not do. And, after all, who comes nearer to those who suffer than the doctor? Who touches the icy brow first in the throes of death? Who imparts the first warning that hope has fled? Who comforts first in all affliction if not the doctor? We know the agony of sorrow, for we see it in our daily life. Therefore we weep with the rest of mankind.
     Who should have a keener knowledge of this awful calamity than those who were first at his side when the terrible blow was struck? Who should know more of his suffering than those to whom his life was entrusted—his physicians? They who worked with the might of skill and courage, who used the most accurate adjuvants of science, who joined their hearts and ability in one determined effort to save his precious life; it is these physicians and surgeons, we say, who know and feel the crushing blow of death. Hence we add our mite to the nation’s grief.
     Let it be known to all who read these lines that our President had the best of medical care. Compared to past methods his treatment was marvelous. The science of surgery prevailed in the most perfect degree; no delay was allowed for unfavorable complications; the operation was skillfully performed and the after care was within the lines of most scientific experience. His life was almost saved, but the power of toxemia was greater than the skill of the surgeon; the gangrenous condition, found by the autopsy, could not be reached. The profession did all it could, and all honor should be given to those faithful and heroic surgeons. Shame on the carping critic who says more could have been done! As physicians we are accustomed to the praise which comes when our patients live and we also know the criticism which follows when death outweighs our efforts. Justice to the living is, however, a mandatory consideration in this case, and for our part we say well done to those who assumed the responsibility.