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Source: Pharmaceutical Era
Source type: journal
Document type: article
Document title: “Pharmaceutical Aspect of the National Tragedy”
Author(s): anonymous
Date of publication: 26 September 1901
Volume number: 26
Issue number: 13
Pagination: 357-60

“Pharmaceutical Aspect of the National Tragedy.” Pharmaceutical Era 26 Sept. 1901 v26n13: pp. 357-60.
full text
Matthew D. Mann (public statements); William McKinley (medical care: personal response); William McKinley (medical care); B. J. Bixby; B. J. Bixby (public statements); Edward A. Kingston; Edward A. Kingston (public statements); Fred A. Darrin; Roswell Park (public statements); McKinley assassination (investigation: Buffalo, NY); McKinley assassination (poison bullet theory).
Named persons
Mary D. Barnes; B. J. Bixby; Fred A. Darrin; Harvey R. Gaylord [middle initial wrong below]; Horace P. Hayes; Herbert M. Hill; Edward A. Kingston; Matthew D. Mann; William McKinley; Herman Mynter; Roswell Park; Katherine Simmons.
The article (below) is accompanied with nine photographs, captioned as follows:
  • Dr. Matthew D. Mann, Operating Surgeon. [p. 357]
  • Dr. Roswell Park, Associate Surgeon. [p. 357]
  • Druggist E. A. Kingston, Whose Work Was Praised by Surgeons. [p. 358]
  • Kingston’s Store from Which Drugs Were Supplied by Special Messenger Service. [p. 358]
  • Druggist Horace P. Hayes. [p. 359]
  • Fred A. Darrin, Manager Hayes’ Drug Store. [p. 359]
  • Interior of Horace P. Hayes’ Drug Store, a Base of Supplies for the Sick Room. [p. 359]
  • B. J. Bixby, Pharmacist, Drug Department, Emergency Hospital, Exposition Grounds, Who Administered the Hypodermic Injections for the First Operation. [p. 360]
  • Operating Room at the Emergency Hospital, Showing Table, Stands and Bowls Arranged by Druggist Bixby for the Operation. [p. 360]


Pharmaceutical Aspect of the National Tragedy


Druggists Are Given Credit for Their Splendid Services During the Illness
of President McKinley.

     “I have only words of the strongest commendation for the admirable services rendered by the pharmacists who assisted us in the crisis when the late President McKinley was shot and through his illness to the end,” said Dr. Matthew D. Mann in answer to a request for a criticism upon the work of the druggists, who were called upon in a professional capacity in the national tragedy at Buffalo, September 6. “There was never a time during the whole terrible ordeal that we did not find a quick, sympathetic and active spirit among all the persons associated with us in the endeavor to save the President’s life, and I cannot speak too highly of the prompt and efficient work of the druggists who filled our orders and prescriptions.” Dr. Mann’s tribute is heartily endorsed by all of the physicians and surgeons who were approached on the subject.
     Every phase of the late President’s injury and illness has been exhaustively discussed from all points of view with the exception of that of the pharmacist. Until the operating physician and his associates had paid this splendid compliment to the druggists connected with the case of the distinguished patient, nothing had been given out for the public to the credit of the men, whose accuracy, despatch [sic] and devotion to duty won the gratitude of the surgeons, who are in a position to realize how materially their work is forwarded by the prompt and sure action of the druggist upon whom they are depending.
     There are four pharmacists who rendered valuable services in the care of the wounded President. The first druggist called upon immediately after the shooting was B. J. Bixby, a bright young man in charge of the drug department of the Emergency Hospital on the Pan-American exposition grounds. When President McKinley was removed to the Milburn house on Delaware avenue [sic] the services of druggist E. A Kingston, who owns the nearby store on the corner of Main and Ferry streets, were called into requisition. The store of Horace P. Hayes, on the corner of Allen and Main streets, was the scene of many hurried orders, which were promptly and accurately carried out by Mr. Hayes and his efficient manager, Fred A. Darrin. To these men belong the credit of upholding the honor of their profession by the exercise of those qualities which make for the recognition of the pharmacist as a man of consequence in the professional world.
     A short time after the tragedy was enacted in the Temple of Music a rush call for the ambulance came to the Emergency Hospital, and young Bixby was told to prepare all the necessary articles for the dressing of the wounds or the performing of an operation. In speaking of the shock incident to the terrible news and his subsequent actions, Mr. Bixby said:
     “The word of the attempted assassination of the President, coming as a bolt from a clear sky, seemed to paralyze all of us for a moment. There was no confusion, however. The table, stands, bowls, and other apparatus were quickly put into order for an operation. I began work at once in the drug department without knowing the extent of the President’s injuries or exactly what would be needed. We prepared bandages, gauzes, cottons, stimulants, anaesthetics and antiseptics. The work was done smoothly, without a hitch. It took us just seven minutes to prepare for the emergency. Besides the surgical supplies proper, there were, a normal salt solution, bichloride of mercury for antiseptic use, brandy, strychnine and morphine. Two hypodermic injections of brandy were used, two of strychnine, each injection being of one-thirtieth of a grain, and one hypodermic injection of morphine of one-sixth of a grain. The administering of the hypodermic injections was intrusted [sic] to me. After the operation had been finished and the wound dressed, I went ahead to the Milburn house, taking a complete case of hypodermic tablets. Two nurses, Miss Barnes and Miss Simmons, accompanied me, our duty being to set up a bed and prepare the room for the President’s reception. This being done I returned to the hospital and saw him removed. I [357][358] had nothing further to do with the case until Thursday, when I sent over some bandages and other surgical supplies.”
     Bixby is a student at the university [sic] of Buffalo and is one of the brightest young men in the medical college. The drug department of the Emergency Hospital, of which he has charge, is a small room opening off the main operating room. The supply of drugs is limited to what is generally required for emergency cases, being composed largely of stimulants, anaesthetics and surgical supplies.
     When President McKinley was removed to the Milburn house the work of supplying drugs and other requisites was given to E. A. Kingston, his store being the nearest one to the sick room. Mr. Kingston immediately set about making special preparations to insure the most perfect and quickest service. Three messengers were retained and some of them were in readiness at all times during the week to respond promptly to any call for medicines or supplies which might be needed. The messengers were provided with bicycles. Only once did Mr. Kingston fail to have what he was called upon for a certain kind of bandage, but his messengers were promptly dispatched to different stores and one of them returned within ten minutes with the required article. Over twenty prescriptions and orders were filled at this store, including hypodermic tablets, gauzes, bandages, plasters, cottons, calomel, castor oil and lotions for external application. Every precaution was taken to fill orders with accuracy and despatch [sic]. The store force held themselves in readiness at all hours of the day and night, taking no chances of not being prepared for an emergency.
     Mr. Kingston is one of the most widely known druggists in Buffalo. He established his business fifteen years ago and has built up, through his energy and thorough going [sic] business methods one of the leading drug establishments of Buffalo. He is justly proud of the excellent services rendered by him during the late President’s illness, and has been highly complimented by the physicians and surgeons connected with the case. Talking to the Era representative in regard to the illness of Mr. McKinley and the pharmaceutical phase of the case, Mr. Kingston said:
     “As soon as I was informed of the fact that the President was to be brought to the Milburn residence, I began making preparations to meet any call for service from my store. The messenger service proved to be just the thing. There was no delay in filling an order or prescription, of which there were about twenty. We held ourselves in readiness night and day throughout the week to respond instantly when anything was wanted. All other business was subordinated to our one desire to be prompt and accurate in attending to the prescriptions of the attending surgeons. That our efforts were appreciated is evidenced by a beautiful bouquet sent to us from the Milburn house and by personal assurances from the doctors. Although we have the satisfaction of having done all in our power, there is a great inexpressible regret that we could not have done more, and that what was done was futile to the end of saving a noble and useful life. The nature of the medicines and supplies used you already know. It was almost purely a surgical case and the orders filled were for supplies to fit the circumstances.”
     Another store which figured prominently in the [358][359] furnishing of medicines and supplies for the distinguished patient, was that of Horace P. Hayes, corner Allen and Main streets. Dr. Mann’s residence is just around the corner from this store and Mr. Darrin, the manager, held himself in readiness to fill all of the orders of the surgeon, of which there were not a few. Zinc oxide plasters, dressings and surgical odds and ends were sent out by Mr. Darrin. The most important service rendered by him was the secret delivery of the oxygen to the Milburn house on Thursday night under orders from the doctors, who were anticipating at that time a crisis in the President’s condition. It was considered undesirable that the information that oxygen was being take [sic] to the house should be given out until the surgeons were sure that its use would be necessary, yet all agreed that it was wise to take the precaution of having it at hand. Mr. Darrin was told of this condition of affairs and was detailed to deliver the two large cylinders of gas at the house on Thursday night, being left to his own resources. Securing a closed carriage he took the two oxygen cylinders and drove out to the house. Although he was stopped [359][360] at the lines by the guards, he insisted upon having a personal message for Dr. Mann, and argued for half an hour before he succeeded in reaching a side door to the house and delivering the gas without anyone knowing the nature of his mission. Mr. Darrin refused to be interviewed about the incident, modestly disclaiming any credit for doing his duty.
     The store of which Mr. Darrin is manager is one of the four establishments belonging to Horace P. Hayes, one of the longest established druggists in the city of Buffalo. The Main street [sic] store is a model in the way of equipment, and Mr. Darrin has established a splendid reputation for reliability and promptness, supplying many of the most eminent physicians and surgeons in the city.
     Dr. Roswell Park, speaking of the pharmaceutical aspect of the President’s illness, said:
     “It was almost purely a surgical case. There is of necessity in the treatment of a case of that kind but little pharmaceutical history. Little medicine was employed aside from adrenaline, strychnine and other vascular and heart stimulants, anaesthetics, cathartics, plasters and external applications. No fault can be found with the service given us by the pharmacists who supplied these things. It was perfectly satisfactory.”
     Dr. Herman Mynter spoke along the same line, adding that codeine and digitalis had been used and speaking in terms of the highest praise of the work of the druggists who furnished the required medical and surgical supplies.
     Dr. H. M. Gaylord, state shemist [sic] and autopsy surgeon and Dr. H. M. Hill, official chemist of Buffalo, have made analyses of the bullets left in the chambers of the assassin’s pistol and of portions of the vicera [sic] removed from the body at the autopsy and, according to rumor, have been unable, after a most searching examination, to find any trace of a poisonous substance. Their official report had not been made public on Monday. They have been very careful to conceal the results of their work in the laboratory under orders from the surgeons, until the report is ready for the public.



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