Opinion of France’s Greatest Authority
Dr. Georges Dieulafoy, Clinical Professor of Paris
at the Hotel Dieu
Hospital, Thinks the President’s Recovery Is Certain.
(Special cable to New York Herald.)
The Herald’s European edition publishes
“President McKinley’s recovery is
Such is the opinion of Dr. Georges
Dieulafoy of Paris, clinical professor at the Hotel Dieu hospital.
Professor Dieulafoy is France’s greatest
authority on stomachal wounds. A Herald correspondent had a long
interview with him this afternoon on Mr. McKinley’s case. Professor
Dieulafoy said. [sic]
“From the despatches [sic]
published in the Paris Herald it is clear that surgeons were immediately
called in and took the proper course in the case of a bullet entering
the abdominal cavity and penetrating the wals [sic] of the
stomach. The only rational method for a surgeon is to open the abdomen,
close the wound in the stomach and cleanse the peritoneum. This
was apparently done, and promptly done.
“President McKinley’s case may best
be compared to that of a patient suffering from what is called a
perforating ulcer of the stomach. In such cases a simple stomachal
ulcer eats its way through the stomach until the wall suddenly bursts.
Fearful pain ensues, and the contents of the stomach escape into
the peritoneum. All the symptoms of peritonitis ensue. Our surgical
statistics show, however, that if any energetic surgeon is called
immediately and the operation I have previously referred to is performed
forthwith the patient recovers in three cases out of four.
“It must of course be understood that
a guiding opinion on an individual case can only be expressed when
one is in possession of the full data. I assume that in Mr. McKinley’s
case the operation was duly performed within a few hours. This being
so, Mr. McKinley is now in the condition of a patient who is suffering
from a perforating ulcer of the stomach and has been operated upon
directly after the ulcer has burst. As I said before, recovery follows
in such cases three times out of four. If the operation is not entirely
successful peritonitis ensues. When this happens the patient generally
“I may go further and say that in
Mr. McKinley’s case the conditions are even more favorable than
in the case of an ulceral perforation of the stomach. In the latter
case the stomach is already affected by conditions arising from
ulceration of the stomach. Mr. McKinley on the other hand has the
advantage of being possessed of a sound stomach—i. e., one not previously
affected by interior ulceration.
“Moreover, gunshot wounds of the stomach,
of which I have seen many, are distinguished by peculiar characteristics.
I have seen wounds in which the stomach has been perforated, but
has immediately closed without allowing any of its contents to escape
into the abdominal cavity. The retractibility of a healthy stomach
“President McKinley’s recovery depends
on the answer to the following question: ‘If the bullet perforated
the stomach, was the abdomen opened within a few hours and were
the results of the perforation of the stomach obliterated under
favorable conditions?’ If the answer is in the affirmative, Mr.
McKinley’s recovery is to be expected and may even be said to be
“The fact that the bullet remains
lodged in the muscles of the back is without importance. Its presence
there offers no danger. The temperatures and pulsations transmitted
by cable afford no light enabling us to form a scientific judgment.
The whole problem resides in the speedy performanc[e] of the operation
under favorable conditions.”