Source: St. John Daily Sun
Source type: newspaper
Document type: article
Document title: “Opinion of France’s Greatest Authority”
City of publication: St. John, Canada
Date of publication: 12 September 1901
Volume number: 24
Issue number: 219
|“Opinion of France’s Greatest Authority.” St. John Daily Sun 12 Sept. 1901 v24n219: p. 6.|
|Georges Dieulafoy (public statements); McKinley assassination (international response); William McKinley (recovery: speculation); William McKinley (surgery); William McKinley (medical condition).|
|Georges Dieulafoy; William McKinley.|
Opinion of France’s Greatest Authority
Dr. Georges Dieulafoy, Clinical Professor of Paris at the Hotel
Hospital, Thinks the President’s Recovery Is Certain.
(Special cable to New York Herald.)
The Herald’s European edition publishes the following:
“President McKinley’s recovery is almost certain.”
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 succumbs.
“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 is remarkable.
“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 almost certain.
“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.”