Source: Physician and Surgeon
Source type: journal
Document type: editorial
Document title: “President William McKinley”
Date of publication: September 1901
Volume number: 23
Issue number: 9
|“President William McKinley.” Physician and Surgeon Sept. 1901 v23n9: pp. 421-22.
|William McKinley (death: personal response); William McKinley (medical care: personal response).
President William McKinley
The details of the assassination of our late President are too well known and too vividly remembered to need repetition here. The daily bulletins also were as promptly and zealously posted as the eager throngs could wish. The story has all been told. This is an occasion only for reflection, consolation and thought for the future.
Afterward is a favorite time for some people to indulge in carping criticism and “I-told-you-so.” It is also sometimes the only time to make any remark. It is so with us, but we do not feel critical with regard to the medical aspect of this case. It was as if the supreme efforts of their lives were required of those employed in supplying the needs of that awful occasion, and we are content to believe that they were expended to the limit. Surgical attention was prompt, courageous, dignified and careful. The only regret is that such service did not end in recovery.
The bulletins were as a rule satisfactory. They reflected the best judgment of the medical attendants. It seemed provoking, however, that he, who would naturally be supposed to know least about the real conditions of things, not having assisted or been present at the operation, should nevertheless prognosticate with the most assurance. It is possible, however, that that bulletin was incorrectly reported.
The regret has been publicly expressed that a specialist in internal medicine was not called into the case at the first, and the occasion is made use of to insist that in surgical cases generally specialists in internal medicine as well as surgeons should be consulted. In this instance it is perhaps unfortunate that the physician was not called in earlier, as, had he been, that regret would not have been felt. We are not willing to admit,  however, that such a rule should be established. It is our opinion, and everyone is entitled to hold an opinion, that, except when the attending physician or surgeon feels the need of other or more experienced counsel, an undivided responsibility will insure the best results.