Publication information
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Source: Philadelphia Inquirer
Source type: newspaper
Document type: article
Document title: “‘Heart Affection Probable Cause’”
Author(s): anonymous
City of publication: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Date of publication: 14 September 1901
Volume number: 145
Issue number: 76
Pagination: 6

“‘Heart Affection Probable Cause.’” Philadelphia Inquirer 14 Sept. 1901 v145n76: p. 6.
full text
William McKinley (death, cause of); Matthew D. Mann (public statements); William McKinley (medical condition); William McKinley (activity, conversations, etc. during recovery); Ida McKinley; William McKinley (last words); Milburn residence (visitors); William McKinley (medical care); Roswell Park (public statements); Herman Mynter (public statements).
Named persons
Marcus Hanna; Philander C. Knox; Matthew D. Mann; Ida McKinley; William McKinley; Herman Mynter; Roswell Park [misspelled once below]; Presley M. Rixey; Elihu Root.


“Heart Affection Probable Cause”

Special to The Inquirer.
     BUFFALO, Sept. 13.—“What is the cause of death?” was asked.
     “Apparently it is some affection of the heart,” Dr. Mann replied, “but we do not know what it is exactly.
     “Senator Hanna has given us to understand that there will be an autopsy, but we are in the dark. The President’s pulse has been rapid from the start. It has never behaved right. It has steadily and progressively grown weaker. For the last twenty-four hours he has been having sinking spells off and on, each one worse and each one harder to bring him back from.
     “The President did not believe until late to-day that he would die. He told me this morning he had not lost heart.


     “We were laughing and joking while I was dressing the wound. He said to me: ‘I feel that I will get well.’
     “This evening he spoke to Dr. Rixey about dying. He said he felt it was almost over. He then asked for his wife.
     “Mrs. McKinley was with him for an hour and a half. They conversed together making their farewells. Mrs. McKinley bears up splendidly. While she was with her husband she sat with her hands clasped in his, and showed no signs of breaking down.
     “The President’s last words to those about him were: ‘Good-by all, good-by. It is God’s way. His will be done, not ours,’ and then he said, speaking to no one apparently, ‘Nearer my God to Thee, e’en though it be a cross, it is my constant prayer.’ His mind wandered considerably to the last and he lay scarcely breathing.”


     When Dr. Mann was asked who was in the room he said: “All of the President’s friends went in and bade him bood-by [sic], most of them went away again, but some stayed. Senator Hanna was in the room from time to time and the members of the Cabinet went in. Secretary Root went in several times. A front bedroom was devoted to their use. Attorney General Knox was the last of the members of the Cabinet to arrive.”
     When the bulletins were issued that President McKinley had been able to take solid food the country rejoiced. It was then considered certain that he would recover rapidly. When the bulletin was issued which said that the stomach had refused to assimilate the solid food the hearts of the country paused. They were preparing for the worst news, which came. The food had generated a gas and the pressure had influenced the action of the heart. This was the startling message which was given to the world.


     When the shock had passed the people asked who was to blame for giving the President solid food before he was in condition to receive it. Replying to this query Dr. Roswell Parks said:
     “Solid food was not given to the President before he could stand it. He was perfectly able to assimilate the food given him had it not been that the impoverished blood affected the heart. The heart refused to act properly without strong blood food, and that was why the toast soaked in hot beef juice was given to him. He was not given coffee. He relished the food and asked for a cigar but this was denied. Everything known to medical science was done for him, and there was no mistake made.”


     Dr. Herman Mynter said:
     “At the time solid food was given to him he was able to take it. There can be no mistake about that. I do not believe that the food in his stomach had much effect on the heart. It was believed from the first that the heart was weak and that was why ether was given him instead of chloroform when Dr. Mann made the operation. The heart was believed to be in a fair condition to supply blood for the body until early this morning, when the extremities became chilled. The heart beats [sic] had been as usual, but the valves of the heart seemed to weaken so that the requisite amount of blood was not supplied the system.
     “Everything known to medical and surgical science was done to get the heart into proper working order, not to use any scientific terms which the public would not understand. It was necessary that his mind should be free from worry of any kind.
     “It is reasonable to suppose that he has in his conscious moments worried over the condition of his wife and has thought much of matters of state.
     “To relieve him of these matters he was kept most of the day under opiates, which would not interfere with the action of the heart.
     “But as to the food I believe with the other doctors that it was wise to give him the toast softened by the beef juice. He had no coffee. The President was always cheerful and appreciated the toast greatly. He had been strong enough to turn himself in bed without injury and it was to be supposed that he could take solid food in a very modified manner.”



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