Real Cause of Death
Autopsy Revealed That the System Was Permeated with
Were Bullets Poisoned?
Gangrene, which affected the stomach,
caused the death of the president. The announcement was made officially
by the surgeons who attended him, reinforced by Dr. Janeway, Dr.
Johnson, Dr. Kendall, Dr. Cary, Dr. Munson, Dr. Baer and Drs. Gaylord
and Metzinger. An autopsy was performed at the Milburn home Saturday,
several hours after the death of the president. The bullet which
penetrated the stomach was not found. For two hours the surgeons
who performed the autopsy sought for it. Its course was traced until
it entered the muscles of the back, where a search of 1½
hours failed to find it. The X-ray apparatus was not conveniently
at hand to aid the search, so the autopsy was concluded without
the finding of the bullet.
The report of the autopsy upon the
president’s body was issued in the form of an official bulletin,
similar to those issued during his illness. Here is the report:
“The bullet which struck over the
breastbone did not pass through the skin and did little harm.
“The other bullet passed through both
walls of the abdomen. Both holes were found to be perfectly closed
by the stitches, but the tissue around each hole had become gangrenous.
After passing through the stomach the bullet passed into the back
walls of the abdomen, hitting and tearing the upper end of the kidney.
This portion of the bullet track was also gangrenous, the gangrene
involving the pancreas.
“The bullet has not yet been found.
There were no signs of peritonitis or disease of other organs. The
heart walls were very thin. There was no evidence of an attempt
at repair on the part of nature and death resulted from the gangrene,
which affected the stomach around the bullet wounds, as well as
the tissues around the further course of the bullet.
“Death was unavoidable by any surgical
or medical treatment and was the direct result of the bullet wound.”
The death certificate, issued later
by Coroner Wilson, states the cause of death as given in the official
report of the autopsy. It says nothing of a poisoned bullet or anything
except the cause stated by the surgeons.