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Source: Animals’ Defender
Source type: magazine
Document type: editorial
Document title: “A Celebrated Case”
Author(s): anonymous
Date of publication: November 1901
Volume number: 6
Issue number: 11
Pagination: 3-4

“A Celebrated Case.” Animals’ Defender Nov. 1901 v6n11: pp. 3-4.
full text
William McKinley (medical care: criticism).
Named persons
John F. Hall-Edwards; Herman Mynter; Roswell Park; George F. Shrady.


A Celebrated Case

     We mean to touch as briefly as possible on the circumstances connected with the recent illness and death of the chief magistrate of this country, the subject being in many ways a painful one; there are, however, some points bearing upon that event which cry out, as it were, for recognition. Two facts especially seem to obtrude themselves: one, that the wonderful and beneficent power of the Roentgen (or “X”) ray was not employed; the other, that the animal experimentalist, with his bacteriological functions, was much in evidence. At the “pathological laboratory” of the University of Buffalo, numerous animals were inoculated with “cultures” taken from the patient before and after death, and “vivisected when in the last stages of the poison period,” says the N. Y. Herald of Sept. 19. Once more, and perhaps in the most celebrated case on record, animals have thus been made to suffer for and by the ignorance of man, while beneficent agencies, provided without the aid of blood and [3][4] torture, have been contemptuously ignored. Says Dr. J. Hall-Edwards, Surgeon-Radiographer to the Imperial Yeomanry Hospital, at a recent meeting of the British Medical Association: “With these [the Roentgen] rays we have at our disposal an aseptic, scientific and absolutely accurate method of localization, which may be improved, but which even now is as near perfection as our present knowledge can make it.”
     Upon this celebrated case fourteen distinguished physicians consulted, with the result of absolute antagonism of opinion (the Herald of Sept. 8 calls it a “disgraceful wrangle”) on vital points. Dr. Mynter, according to the Boston Globe of Sept. 17, told the correspondent that it was “impossible from the position of the pancreas that it could have been penetrated by the bullet which passed through the stomach and kidney,”—nevertheless it was penetrated, and the escape of its contents was what caused the gangrenous condition, according to Dr. Park and the distinguished Geo. F. Shrady, M. D. The Philadelphia Medical Journal and the Boston Medical and Surgical Journal highly compliment the attending physicians, while Dr. Shrady [not on the case] says the doctors were “wrong in their conception of the case from the beginning to the end” (N. Y. Journal, Sept. 22), and the German Medical Weekly (Berlin) of Sept. 14 says that the “buoyant hopefulness of the Buffalo bulletins battles scientific comprehension!”
     Meanwhile, coming down to every day matters of common-sense, we noticed that the doctors were giving their distinguished patient “hot beef-extract on toast,”—a method of nursing which was closely followed by “indigestion,” “exhaustion” and “collapse.” When we consider the fact that “beef-extract,” contains almost no nutriment and is full of uric acid poison, that when given “hot on toast” it prevents the beneficial action of the saliva on the toast, and that all these enormities were inflicted upon a stomach laboring under a gun-shot wound, we can, partially at least, sympathize with the opinion recently given us by a prominent Boston physician, that such treatment was “practically homicidal.”
     But why do we, is it asked, thus seek to rake up the “buried past”? Simply because we may from it learn a lesson or two. We may thus be still further confirmed in the fact that modern bacteriological medicine is a system of random guess-work; that “expert medical evidence” is largely moonshine; that the inexorable laws of diet and hygiene, of which some of these “experts” seem profoundly ignorant, are being terribly slighted in the pursuit of the bacteriological will-o-wisp.



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