Source: Denver Medical Times
Source type: journal
Document type: editorial
Document title: “The Assassination of the President”
Date of publication: October 1901
Volume number: 21
Issue number: 4
|“The Assassination of the President.” Denver Medical Times Oct. 1901 v21n4: pp. 193-94.|
|McKinley assassination (personal response); William McKinley (medical condition); William McKinley (medical care: personal response); William McKinley (death, cause of); McKinley assassination (news coverage: criticism).|
|Matthew D. Mann; William McKinley.|
The Assassination of the President
The whole country was inexpressibly shocked by the news of the shooting of
the President by an anarchist. Mr. McKinley’s irreproachable private character
and his kindly nature had made him honored even by his political enemies. The
crime that caused his death was as senseless as it was horrible.
The course of the second bullet, as shown by the autopsy, was through both walls of the stomach, the pancreas, the top of the left kidney and on into the muscles of the back. The careful and skillful operation performed by Dr. Mann, the Buffalo surgeon, appeared for several days to have met every requirement, and the President seemed on the high road to recovery. His sudden relapse and gradual final collapse were, therefore, almost as much a shock to the nation as was the first intelligence of the wound.
The negative character of the signs and symptoms involved the case at this period in considerable mystery, at least to the great body of physicians who had no access to the real information possessed on the subject by those in attendance. The autopsy, however, cleared up the diagnosis by revealing that the tract of  the bullet was gangrenous throughout, and death was, therefore, unavoidable and certain from gradual asthenia, due to septicemia.
As a general rule very eminent men who need medical and especially surgical attention, while they have too many doctors, often get little enough real service, for fear most likely of adverse criticism in the event of untoward accidents, such as that of dying on the operating table. Viewed from what we may know at this distance, however, it seems very probable that Mr. McKinley received the best possible care in every way; and this despite the asseverations of the omniscient reporter, who claimed that the President died of toxemia from the intestinal tract, owing to the premature administration of solid food. This, by the way, is the same wise scribe who stated that Mr. McKinley was kept under the “deadening influences” of the “narcotics” strychnine and digitalis. All of which shows that it is simply impossible for the daily press to represent medical matters fairly or correctly.