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Source: St. Louis Medical and Surgical Journal
Source type: journal
Document type: editorial
Document title: “The Late President’s Case”
Author(s): anonymous
Date of publication: November 1901
Volume number: 81
Issue number: 5
Pagination: 271-72

“The Late President’s Case.” St. Louis Medical and Surgical Journal Nov. 1901 v81n5: pp. 271-72.
full text
William McKinley (medical care: personal response).
Named persons
William McKinley.


The Late President’s Case

     We do not propose to discuss the surgical aspects of the case of former President McKinley’s assassination. Nor do we intend to enter into the pyschological [sic] condition of the murderer. Least of all do we desire to emulate the example of many of our worthy cotemporaries [sic] located at or near the eastern seaboard. We are not inclined to criticize the work of the surgeons concerned in the case. In the first place it would be very bad form; and, further- [271][272] more, even those present at both operation and post-mortem examination have practically acknowledged that they could not satisfactorily discuss the matter or throw sufficient light on it to enable others to draw any conclusions of worth. We have received private advices from good sources that the reports and bulletins published by the press, as received from the Associated Press, were unreliable and gotten up in great part for stock-jobbing purposes. The Brahmins of the east have been wasting paper and printer’s ink in a vain endeavor to explain the apparently sudden death of McKinley. Many surgeons of greater or less prominence and ability have paraded their views in the daily prints, and at this late day we are as much in the dark as ever.
     This case, attended by medical men reported to be among the best in this country, has not cast that amount of credit upon the medical profession which we would have liked to see manifest. In fact, the majority of the laity is inclined to look upon all as much overrated men. As we heard one say, in language more forcible than elegant, the case “gave a black-eye” to surgery, which had been put up as one of the certainties of medicine. We were very sorry indeed to note the deplorable denouement of this affair, and still more so to read some of the lame excuses made for the result. As we stated at the outset, we do not propose to criticize men or methods, but merely to call attention to the fact that there is a greater occasion than ever to study seriously abdominal surgery, and more especially gun-shot wounds of the stomach and intestines. A few fortunate results in the hands of some are far from establishing principles, and it is only by a serious study of both successful and of nonsuccessful cases that some reliable conclusions will be drawn, in regard to operative measures and technique, which will be more apt to be followed by good results. In the meantime all surgeons should bend their strongest energies to a proper understanding of just such cases as the one which has culminated in the death of our chief executive.



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