Source: Chicago Daily Tribune
Source type: newspaper
Document type: article
Document title: “Time Factor in M’Kinley’s Case”
City of publication: Chicago, Illinois
Date of publication: 10 September 1901
Volume number: 60
Issue number: 253
|“Time Factor in M’Kinley’s Case.” Chicago Daily Tribune 10 Sept. 1901 v60n253: part 1, p. 2.|
|Willis D. Storer (public statements); William McKinley (surgery).|
|Martin Couney [misspelled below]; Matthew D. Mann; Ida McKinley; William McKinley; John G. Milburn; Willis D. Storer.|
Time Factor in M’Kinley’s Case
Dr. Storer, Who Assisted in Operation, Returns and Describes
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 Hospital.
“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 for it.
“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.”