Virus from Wounds Forced into Veins of Dogs and
Many Small Animals Are Called Upon to Contribute
Their Lives to Aid
Investigation to Determine the Poison That Killed the President.
Dr. Herbert M. Hill, City Chemist
of Buffalo, and Dr. Harvey R. Gaylord, a state chemist, Dr. Roswell
Park, one of the President’s surgeons, and Dr. H. G. Matzinger,
who performed the autopsy on the body of the President, are making
a most exhaustive analysis of gangrenous viscera taken from the
body of the late President McKinley and of particles taken from
the revolver barrel of Czolgosz and from the bullets remaining in
the assassin’s revolver. This work is being done by direction of
District Attorny [sic] Penney to obtain material for the
prosecution of the assassin and especially to learn whether the
bullets that sped from Czolgosz’s revolver were poisoned, as Dr.
Eugene Wasdin, one of the President’s surgeons, has asserted he
District Attorney Penney has ordered
the examination in pursuance of his policy to trace every clue in
connection with the assassination. Mr. Penney has also directed
that the analytical experts refrain from discussing their work except
with him. The District Attorney is not pleased, he says, with the
sensational and untrue stories, much as those printed by a New York
paper concerning Czolgosz’s removal to jail, and means this part
of the case shall be reserved for the Court and jury.
The analysis and tests are going on
at the laboratory of the Buffalo Medical College on High Street.
The rooms are guarded against intrusion and not any physician tells
what work is going on. Every appliance and device known to advanced
bacteriological and chemical science is being used by the physicians
who are conducting the examination. It is true, also, that the highest
degree of skill known to the world of chemists and bacteriologists
is being devoted to determining whether the gangrenous condition
of the viscera and tissue taken from the President’s body was a
natural result of the bullet wounds or resulted from the operation
of poison carried into the system by means of the bullets.
WORKING NIGHT AND DAY.
The physicians and surgeons have
been at work night and day since Sunday, giving up all their time
from practice to the work assigned to them by District Attorney
Penney. Dr. Matzinger said he would have no leisure from his work
for a day and from another source it was learned that several days
will elapse before a certain result is reached.
Cultures or specimens have been taken
from the mouth of the wounds in the President’s body and from the
viscera and tissues within through which the bullet passed. Cultures
have also been taken from the bullets remaining in the assassin’s
revolver, and from the barrel of the assassin’s revolver. These
cultures are undergoing both chemical and bacteriological examination,
and besides the virus of these cultures has been injected into animals
and the inoculation and its results watched with an attention as
careful as would be paid to the most distinguished of human patients.
At the laboratory there are a score
of rabbits, guinea pigs, white rats and mice, dogs and cats upon
which the experiments have been made. At least a dozen animals have
in their veins the virus of the wound from whose effects the President
died. The animals are in various stages of inoculation. Several
have been inoculated since Saturday and others at various times
later. Two of the little beasts showed today unmistakable signs
of the working of the poisonous virus in their systems. The two
are among those earliest operated upon. The animals are a dog and
The effects noticeable on the dog
and the rabbit are partial coma, a rise in temperature and a rise
in pulse. Similar conditions were marked in the case of the President.
The animals under treatment are being kept from food to make the
conditions in their cases as much like those of the President as
On the operating table this afternoon
was a rabbit. A full set of vivisection instruments, including scalpels,
tenaculums or hooks, and forceps were close by. An assistant was
sterilizing the instruments that had been used on the rabbit in
the early afternoon in preparation for new examinations on a dog
that had been inoculated as the rabbit was. The dog at this time
was in a pen in the yard of the college. One of the assistants of
Drs. Park, Hill, Matzinger and Gaylord took the dog’s temperature
half an hour before the vivisection of the dog began. The pulse
and temperature of the animal were found to denote a remarkable
increase over normal.
BULLETS BEING TESTED.
Dr. Hill refused to say yesterday,
when seen in his laboratory at the university by a Courier reporter,
just what the matter was, but it is positively known that the bullets
of the remaining cartridges of the revolver are being examined in
section, that the superficial grease and the green verdigris are
undergoing tests. The chemist is looking for not only alkaloid poisons,
but various others, and has a difficult task before him.
Also small portions of the gangrenous
integument removed on the occasion of the second operation and at
the time of the autopsy are being compared. Portions of the anterior
and posterior walls of the stomach, of the pancreatic tissues and
of the tissues immediately surrounding the shattered suprarenal
capsule, are being tested.
Dr. Hill said yesterday he was at
work on the subject, and said that he had no assistants engaged
with him whatever. Over a Bunsen burner at hand was a platinum cupola,
in which was being reduced a piece of organic matter, evidently
a section of peritoneum. Said Dr. Hill:
FINDINGS KEPT SECRET.
“The work on which I am engaged I
am handling alone. I have no assistants and it is going to be an
exceedingly difficult task. It will be over a week before I have
finished and am able to report unless, chemists’ chance should favor
me. I do not know what I am looking for, but am reasonably certain
of finding it, for, as you know, I shall find all there is, and
having reasoned backwards far enough, will arrive at the true substance.
When I have finished, my report will go to the District Attorney
and not to the newspapers. I am perfectly sure that you will not
be able to obtain any facts on my findings before the matter comes
into court, as it will when the case comes up.”
Dr. William Preiss, who has had three
cases of a nature somewhat similar to the President’s, was seen
yesterday afternoon and admitted that he had received an informal
warning in connection with others of his friends to be careful of
remarks made on the treatment of the case by the company of doctors
who handled it.
“I do not know of a meeting of the
committee on the matter; in fact, one may not be necessary.
“No matter whether the treatment was
right or wrong, there is always an abundance of room for differences
in such matters, and there is no doubt that some of these men have
been liberally misquoted. Dr. Wasdin’s statement bore the stamp
of care and accuracy upon it.”