Publication information
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Source: Sunday News
Source type: newspaper
Document type: article
Document title: “Autopsy on the President”
Author(s): anonymous
City of publication: Charleston, South Carolina
Date of publication: 15 September 1901
Volume number: none
Issue number: none
Pagination: 1

“Autopsy on the President.” Sunday News 15 Sept. 1901: p. 1.
full text
William McKinley (autopsy); McKinley assassination (poison bullet theory).
Named persons
Hermanus L. Baer; Charles Cary; Leon Czolgosz [misspelled below]; Harvey R. Gaylord; Edward G. Janeway; William W. Johnston [identified as W. D. Jackson below]; W. P. Kendall; Matthew D. Mann; Herman G. Matzinger; William McKinley; Edward L. Munson; Herman Mynter; Roswell Park; Presley M. Rixey; Charles G. Stockton; Eugene Wasdin.


Autopsy on the President


Bullet Caused Gangrene Where It Penetrated the Walls of the Stomach, Where It Tore
the Kidney and Where It Lodged in the Muscles of the Back—No Medical or
Surgical Treatment Could Have Saved Him.

     Milburn House, Buffalo, September 14.—The following report of the autopsy upon the remains of President McKinley was issued at 5 o’clock:
     “The bullet which struck over the breast bone did not pass through the skin and did little harm. The other bullet passed through both walls of the stomach near its lower border. 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 through 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 was no sign of peritonitis or disease of other organs. The heart walls were very thin. There was no evidence of any 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.
     “Signed: Harvey D. Gaylord, M. D.; Herman G. Matzinger, M. D.; P. M. Rixey, M. D.; Matthew D. Mann, M. D.; Herman Mynter, M. D.; Roswell Park, M. D.; Eugene Wasdin, M. D.; Charles G. Stockton, M. D.; Edward G. Janeway, M. D.; W. D. Jackson, M. D.; W. P. Kendall, surgeon United States army; Charles Cary, M. D.; Edward L. Munson, assistant surgeon in the United States army; Hermanus L. Baer, M. D.”


     The report of the autopsy has again given rise to a theory hinted at a day or two after the President was shot that Czolgocz, in order to insure the accomplishment of his purpose, poisoned the bullets which he fired. The gangrene found in the path of the bullet is thought to be strong evidence in support of this view by Dr. Wasdin, one of the consulting physicians. Dr. Wasdin is considered an expert of high standing in the marine hospital service.
     A chemical and bacteriological examination of the remaining bullets in the pistol will, however, confirm or abolish this theory, and such an examination will undoubtedly be made at once by the authorities. But whether this theory is established or not it seems probable that the result of the autopsy will give rise to a medical controversy. The gangrened condition of the interior wounds which the physicians thought were healed, and the fact that the physicians announced positively that the kidney, which the bullet tore in its passage through the abdomen, was uninjured were so contrary to what was expected by the public, after the statements of the physicians during the progress of the case, that discussion seems inevitable. The poisonous bullet theory might, of course, account for the sudden and puzzling reversal of President McKinley’s condition just when the physicians laid such great stress upon his improved condition and gave such strong hope of his recovery. The bullet itself was not found, although an hour’s search was made for it. The X-ray appliances were not at hand for the use of the physicians and the location of the bullet is still unknown.



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