Time Factor in M’Kinley’s Case
Dr. Storer, Who Assisted in Operation, Returns and
PROMPT ACTION NEEDED.
President Brave Before the Knife and Tells Physicians to Go Ahead.
TRACE COURSE OF BULLET.
Dr. W. D. Storer, 485 Fullerton avenue,
who was at the Buffalo Exposition the day President McKinley was
shot, and was one of the physicians called to assist in the delicate
surgical operation performed on the President at Emergency Hospital,
returned to Chicago yesterday.
On Friday last Dr. Storer was a guest
of Dr. M. Coney, who is in charge of the [Paris?] Incubator Hospital,
and with his wife and Dr. Coney was waiting at that institution
for President and Mrs. McKinley to arrive for a promised tour of
inspection, when a messenger rushed in and announced that the President
had been shot and that Dr. Storer was wanted at once at Emergency
“I ran at once to the hospital,” said Dr.
Storer last night. “When I arrived the President was there lying
on a table. There were perhaps a dozen physicians about him. This
was not to exceed ten minutes after the shots had been fired. The
President was perfectly calm and collected. He did not utter a word
of complaint. When asked if there was any pain he replied:
“‘Just a little.’
“I never saw any one exhibit such great
fortitude under similar circumstances.
Decide That Time Was Vital.
“Perhaps thirty minutes after the President
was carried into the hospital Dr. Mann arrived. In the meantime
we gave him sedatives to prevent evil effects from shock. A hurried
consultation was held, and all the physicians present agreed that
time was the vital issue and that an operation was necessary. The
X-ray was talked of to assist in locating the bullets, but we decided
that the experiment would consume a great deal of time, and after
all it probably would be necessary to operate.
“The external opening in the abdomen indicated
that the ball that penetrated there had gone into the stomach, and
that is why an operation was considered unavoidable.
“When the President was informed of our
decision he did not utter a word of protest, but said, simply:
“‘Very well; go ahead, gentlemen.’
“After the President had been stripped
and placed on the table, the usual antiseptic precautions observed,
and the anæsthetic administered, a five-inch vertical incision was
made, exposing the stomach and showing in the anterior wall a round,
perforating hole large enough to admit the thumb. This wound was
thoroughly washed and the hole carefully sutured with silk thread.
Trace Course of Ball.
“The bullet that caused this wound entered
the abdomen five inches below the left nipple and two inches to
the left of the median line, and it was necessary, after closing
the hole in the anterior wall of the stomach, to trace the course
of the ball. The stomach was turned over, and a similar hole was
found in the posterior wall. This was closed carefully, the same
method being employed as in the first instance.
“A careful examination was then made for
traces of hemorrhage. We found that little blood had been lost.
After spending a short time trying to discover whether the ball
had lodged in a vital tissue the conclusion was reached that it
had not, and it was deemed inadvisable to spend more time searching
“The abdominal cavity was then washed out
and cleansed thoroughly. No drainage tubes were used, as the washing
out of the cavity made them unnecessary. The stomach was found to
be quite full and some of the contents escaping, so steps were taken
at the beginning of the operation to prevent further leakage.
Find Bullet in Clothing.
“After the cleansing process had been
thoroughly gone through the exterior opening was closed and carefully
dressed. The wound in the President’s breast was not at all serious.
The bullet struck the top button of his vest and glanced off, plowing
its way under the skin. We found the ball in his underclothing when
he was undressed for the operation.
“The President was on the operating table
about an hour and a quarter and he did not once come out from under
the influence of the anesthetic administered. When the operation
was begun his pulse showed 84 and at the finish had gone up to 130.
He was still under the influence of ether when he was removed to
Mr. Milburn’s house.
“When I first saw him at the hospital I
was fearful of the result of his wounds, and if he recovers his
life can be credited to modern advanced surgery and the fact that
the operation was resorted to without delay.
“Dr. Mann did all the operating and his
employment of the knife was neat, clean, and conservative. It was
one of the most remarkable operations I have ever participated in.
The President stood it well, yet it was a pitiful sight to see him
there on the operating table as white as a sheet, but with an expression
of absolute calm on his face.
Thinks Condition Favorable.
“I have watched the bulletins from the
President’s bedside right along, and it seems to me that he has
better than an even chance of recovery. An important symptom in
his favor is the fall in his pulse rate. This is the best symptom
that has appeared since he was shot. The fact that his temperature
runs about 100 is not significant, according to my way of reasoning.
It is bound to do that.
“When the President was carried out of
the hospital, after the operation, there were fully 75,000 persons
gathered about the entrance, yet you couldn’t hear a sound, and
every man took off his hat. Five minutes after the shot was fired
the Midway, which is the noisiest place I ever visited, was closed,
and flags on all places of amusement were at half mast.
“I never will forget the bravery and fortitude
displayed by the President throughout the awful ordeal. The only
wish he expressed was that the news of the shooting be kept from
Mrs. McKinley. He did not utter a single word of complaint or protest,
and when informed that an operation was necessary he did not argue
the matter, but advised the physicians to proceed.”