Authoritative Description of the Operation Performed
on the President
New York, Sept. 12.—The New York
Medical Journal, in its issue this week, will print the following
account of the operation upon President McKinley, following his
shooting at Buffalo last Friday. This report is furnished by a Buffalo
physician, who was present at the operation. The account says:
The hospital internes removed the
president’s clothing, ascertained the location of the wounds, and
made ready for the surgeons, who had been summoned by telephone.
Dr. Mann administered one-fourth of a grain of morphine hypoderically
[sic], which served a good purpose in alleviating nerve strain.
Dr. Wasdin began the administration
of ether at 5:20 o’clock, one hour and fifteen minutes after the
wound was inflicted. The first, or uppermost shot, went through
the president’s clothing and made an abrasion about the center of
the sternum. The bullet was found inside the waistcoat, and did
no essential harm. The clothing was burned by the explosion of the
powder at this point.
The president took the ether kindly,
and was well under its influence within the next ten minutes. The
abdomen having been asceptically prepared, an incision 3 inches
long was made perpendicular to the body, and including the opening
made by the ball—a 32-caliber—that was located 4 inches below the
left nipple, and an inch and a half to the left of the median line.
The incision went through a deep layer of fat before the peritoneum
was reached, hence the incision was enlarged another inch. A piece
of cloth—probably a bit of undershirt—was found in the track of
the missile, which looked as if it had been “punched out” by the
bullet. Upon opening the peritoneum a bullet hole was discovered
in the anterior central portion of the stomach. This viscus was
drawn up into the operation wound, and the perforation, after examination,
was closed with a double row of silk sutures. A little oozing of
the stomach contents had occurred through the opening—all of which
was wiped away. A further enlargement of the incision now became
necessary in order to examine the dorsal of the stomach, upon which
another opening was found. This was sutured in manner like unto
The time was now 6:12 p. m. The intestines
were examined for possible wounds, but, happily, none were found,
and these were wrapped in moist hot towels. A previous hypodermic
injection had been made and now twenty-fine minimims of brandy were
similarly administered. A further search for the missile failed
to discover it. But it became apparent that it had done no other
vital damage, with the strong probability that it lost itself in
the thick lumbar muscles.
The abdominal cavity was flushed with
normal salt solution and the closure began. Seven deep silkworm
gut sutures were employed and cat gut was placed superficially between
them. At 6:30 the anaesthetic was discontinued and the abdominal
bandage was applied.
Thus, the operation on which so much
of moment depended, was finished. The president’s pulse was now
122; respiration, 32.