Treatment of the President
In regard to the treatment of the
President, we have from our faraway standpoint seen but one thing
to criticise, which was brought out in an interview with the nurses
“They brought him right here from
the ambulance,” said Miss Morris, placing her hand on the operating
table, “and did not even lift him to remove the stretcher during
the operation. I stood here and Miss Simmons stood over there,”
indicating the opposite side of the table, “and Dr. Wasdin gave
the anesthetic there,” pointing to the white-enameled stool at the
head of the operating table.
“He was the most admirable patient
I ever saw,” said Miss Barnes, as she joined the group.
“When we were taking care of him that
first night, sick as he was, there was not the slightest service
performed for him that he did not recognize in some way. If he could
not speak he would just give a little ’umph-humph, just to let us
know that he noticed what we were doing for him.
“I had no idea it was the President
who was to be operated upon when Miss Walters told me to get a hypodermic
of morphia and strychnia. I looked at the face of the man on the
table and said to myself: ‘That looks like the President,’ but it
was some little time before I was quite sure about it.
“When I went to give the hypodermic
he looked at it in a rather dis- 
trustful sort of way and asked me what it was. When I told him what
it was he said ‘All right,’ very quietly, but pleasantly.
“We counted his pulse every five minutes
all night, and, of course, that kept us at his side almost continuously.
“It was so pathetic,” said Miss Morris,
“when he was on the table before the anesthetic was given. He seemed
to feel so badly that anyone should shoot him because of a personal
hatred. That seemed to be the thought that pained him most. He lay
there, so white and still, never uttering a complaint, and seemed
to be trying to comprehend what prompted his assailant to the deed.
“Once he said gently: ‘He didn’t know,
poor fellow, what he was doing. He couldn’t have known.’”
“We had a rather exciting time going
down to the Milburn house,” said Miss Barnes. “The automobile broke
down and we were delayed. I don’t know what time it was when we
got there. Some one said it was about 7:30 o’clock, but I lost all
track of the time. What surprised me when we arrived was the utter
stillness of the house. There wasn’t a person in sight who wasn’t
needed and there wasn’t a sound any place. Owing to the guard stationed
about the house there was not a sound from outside, save the chirping
of the crickets. It was a hard night for us, for we had been up
all day previously and we had a great deal to do. We had no orderlies
to help us.”
The point we notice in this that looks
dangerous to us is that they did not remove the President from the
stretcher but left him in the ambulance stretcher during the operation.
This would indicate that there was a possibility of a lack of thorough
aseptic precautions. We may misjudge the conditions, but it is difficult
for us to see how it could have been justifiable to have left the
patient on an ambulance stretcher during a major operation of this