Publication information
view printer-friendly version
Source: Fort Wayne Sentinel
Source type: newspaper
Document type: article
Document title: “Surgeon General Is Optimistic”
Author(s): anonymous
City of publication: Fort Wayne, Indiana
Date of publication: 7 September 1901
Volume number: none
Issue number: none
Pagination: 7

“Surgeon General Is Optimistic.” Fort Wayne Sentinel 7 Sept. 1901: p. 7.
full text
William K. Van Reypen; William McKinley (medical condition); William McKinley (recovery: speculation); William McKinley (surgery); William McKinley (medical care); Walter Wyman (public statements).
Named persons
William McKinley; William K. Van Reypen; Walter Wyman.


Surgeon General Is Optimistic

     Washington, Sept. 7.—Naturally the officials of the navy department turned to Surgeon General Van Reypen for an expression of opinion as to the president’s condition. The surgeon general was optimistic. He declared positively that the fact that the president had escaped primary hemorrhage and had rallied from the first terrific shock was greatly in his favor. The operation, which is not unusual in war-time surgery in these later days, is not regarded as extra hazardous when conducted as this one was in the quiet of a hospital and with all modern appliances. The point to be feared was blood poison, and that depended entirely upon whether the operators had succeeded in removing all of foreign matter, such as bits of cloth, grease from the bullet, and even dust, that might have been carried into the wound. The means of sterilizing such tracts were now ample and there was no reason to believe that any precaution had been omitted. The bullet itself not having been reached as yet was a source of danger, for it may not have been perfectly clean.
     It would be impossible to administer nourishment to the president in the usual manner for some days and resort must be had to artificial means. The presence of food in the stomach could not be permitted until the wounds made by the bullet and the cut made in the operation had healed. This might be expected to occur in about a week.
     In response to a request from the Associated Press for an opinion [as?] to the probable result of the president’s wounds, Surgeon General Wyman, of the marine hospital service, said:
     “The fact that the president was in such good health; that skilled surgical assistance was immediately available; that the necessary operation was not postponed, and the fact that the percentage of recoveries in similar cases is large, all give good ground for anticipating a favorable result.
     “It is not unlikely there will be some rise of temperature, which follows wounds of this description, due either to a general disturbance following the wound and operation or possibly due to some localized peritonitis. The fact that the wound was received as late at [sic] 4:10 p. m., probably some hours after lunch and before dinner, the stomach being comparatively empty, is in his favor. It is difficult to find statistics based upon a large number of cases with wounds of this character, but in a general way it may be said that recoveries average about 50 per cent [sic]. With a man like President McKinley it is safe to say that the percentage of chances in his favor is much greater than this. Cases with numerous perforations of the stomach and intestines, even accompanied by wounds of the liver and kidneys, have recovered, as many as ten or more perforations of the intestines with recovery being by no means a great rarity.”



top of page