Publication information
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Source: St. Paul Medical Journal
Source type: journal
Document type: editorial
Document title: “The Murder of the President of the United States”
Author(s): anonymous
Date of publication: October 1901
Volume number: 3
Issue number: 10
Pagination: 684-85

“The Murder of the President of the United States.” St. Paul Medical Journal Oct. 1901 v3n10: pp. 684-85.
full text
McKinley assassination (personal response); William McKinley (medical care: personal response); William McKinley (surgery); William McKinley (death, cause of).
Named persons
Leon Czolgosz; Matthew D. Mann.


The Murder of the President of the United States

     The terrible tragedy which culminated on September 14th in the death of the President of the United States, has cast its shadow over the whole civilized world. The blow came with greater force because up to within a few hours of the end there was every reason to believe that surgery had triumphed and that he would live. It is comforting to know that every thing which human skill could do was done and that the President, from the moment he was shot was in the hands of those who knew exactly what to do and when to do it, and that they did the right thing and did it well. Had the same wound been received on the field of battle, it would have been immediately sealed by the first aid dressing and the soldier might possibly have recovered without any subsequent surgery, for the records of military surgery contain numerous instances of recovery after gun-shot wounds of the abdomen which have not been operated upon. Modem surgical practice, however, dictates immediate laparotomy in bullet wounds of the abdomen [684][685] where perfect hospital facilities are at hand, as there were in this case. Laparotomy was performed and was justified by the finding that the bullet had pierced both walls of the stomach. These wounds were sutured, the toilet of the peritoneum was made and the abdomen closed. The surgery was perfect and the condition of the President for six days seemed to justify the optimistic bulletins which were issued and the medical profession of the whole world congratulated the surgeon who had the common sense, the moral courage and the surgical skill to treat a President as he would have treated a common laborer and to accept without delay, when he knew that delay might be fatal, so great a responsibility. We feel that Dr. Matthew D. Mann of Buffalo is entitled to his nation’s gratitude for what he did and for the promptness with which he did it. The sudden heart failure and collapse coming almost without warning and having, apparently, nothing to do with the abdominal wounds, seemed to be the result of the shock of the injury upon a heart already weakened by disease. The autopsy, however, developed a condition which no medical skill could have foreseen and which no surgeon could have prevented and which demonstrated that the President was doomed from the moment he was shot. Opinions vary as to the cause of the gangrene of the tissues, which was found along the track of the bullet, but there is but one opinion concerning the work done by the surgeons; it was absolutely perfect in every detail.
     The assassin’s bullet accomplished its purpose. Let the assassin and those who conspired with him, if such there be, pay the penalty. We hope that the nation will be spared the disgusting spectacle of a sensational trial, and that Justice will be swift. There will not be wanting those who will argue that the murderer was a degenerate and undoubtedly insanity will be pleaded in his defense. While we are willing to admit that among some of the many definitions of insanity, one may be found to fit this murderer’s case, there is some satisfaction in the knowledge that in New York State they have an excellent and according to our way of thinking an ideal method of treatment for that particular form of insanity, by means of heroic doses of electricity. The cure is rapid and there is no danger of relapse.
     [Since the above was written, Czolgosz, the assassin has been tried, convicted and sentenced to death. Truly, the wheels of justice, when oiled by public opinion and unhampered by legal quibble, can move swiftly.]



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