Source: Buffalo Courier
Source type: newspaper
Document type: article
Document title: “Virus from Wounds Forced into Veins of Dogs and Cats”
City of publication: Buffalo, New York
Date of publication: 18 September 1901
Volume number: 66
Issue number: 261
|“Virus from Wounds Forced into Veins of Dogs and Cats.” Buffalo Courier 18 Sept. 1901 v66n261: p. 7.|
|McKinley assassination (investigation: Buffalo, NY); McKinley assassination (poison bullet theory); McKinley assassination (news coverage); Herbert M. Hill; Herbert M. Hill (public statements); William Preiss; William Preiss (public statements); William McKinley (medical care: personal response).|
|Leon Czolgosz; Harvey R. Gaylord; Herbert M. Hill; Herman G. Matzinger; Roswell Park; Thomas Penney; William Preiss; William McKinley; Eugene Wasdin.|
Virus from Wounds Forced into Veins of Dogs and Cats
Many Small Animals Are Called Upon to Contribute Their Lives
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 believes.
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 a rabbit.
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 possible.
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.”