The Medical Treatment
Dr. Roswell Park Explains Why Solid Food Was Given.
Buffalo, N. Y., Sept. 16.—The physicians
and surgeons attending President McKinley at first attributed his
death to a weak heart. The autopsy, however, surprised them. The
heart action was weak, it is true, but back of that was the real
cause—gangreneous action along the path of the bullet. Whether the
bullet was poisoned, as one of the staff believes, or whether gangrene
resulted from laceration of the tissues which the president’s weakened
system could not resist, remains to be discovered. Blood poisoning
ensued and there was no remedy. Reviewing the case, it is recalled
that when it became known the president was dying the people asked
who was to blame for giving the president solid food before he was
in condition to receive it. Replying to this query Dr. Roswell Park
“The president was perfectly able
to assimilate the food given him had it not been that the impoverished
blood affected the heart.
“The heart refused to act properly
without strong blood food, and that was why the toast soaked in
hot beef juice was given him. He was not given coffee. He relished
the food and asked for a cigar, but this was denied him. Everything
which medical science knows was done for him and there was no mistake.”
Dr. Herman Mynter said:
“I believe the heart was weak. At
the time the solid food was given him he was able to take it. There
can be no mistake about that. I do not believe that the food in
his stomach had much effect on the heart. It was believed from the
first that his heart was weak, and that was why ether was given
him instead of chloroform when Dr. Mann made the operation.
“The heart was believed to be in a
fair condition to supply blood for the body until early yesterday
morning. When the extremities became chilled the heart beats had
been as usual, but the valves of the heart seemed to weaken so that
the requisite of blood was not supplied to the system.
“Everything known to medical and surgical
science was done to get the heart into proper working order, not
to use scientific terms, which the public would not understand.
It was necessary that his mind should be free from worry of any
kind. It is reasonable to suppose that he has, in his conscious
moments, worried over the condition of his wife and has thought
much of matters of state.
“To relieve him of these matters he
was kept most of the day under opiates which would not interfere
with the action of the heart. But, as to the food, I believe with
the other doctors, that it was wise to give him that toast softened
by the beef juice. He had no coffee. That statement is wrong. The
president was always cheerful, and appreciated the toast greatly.
He had been strong enough to turn himself in bed without injury
and it was to be supposed that he could take solid food in a very