Great Surgeon Was Blunt
Stories Told of the Famous Physician Who Attended
President McKinley in the
Last Scenes of the Buffalo Tragedy.
Dr. Herman Mynter, the well-known
Buffalo surgeon, who died recently, was noted for his short replies
and for the frankness with which he treated patients.
“I think you are going to die,” he
would say to a patient on whom he was about to operate. “However,
we shall see.”
Hospital nurses in such cases had
to be ready to whisper encouragingly to the patients, “Don’t mind
Dr. Mynter; he always tells you the worst.”
One day the doctor’s telephone rang
and over the wire came the voice of a woman who had picked out the
“Hello, is this Miller, the baker?”
“No, madame,” replied the surgeon;
“this is Mynter, the butcher.”
Dr. Mynter was the most interesting
witness at the trial of Czolgosz for killing President McKinley.
He called a spade a spade and his examination by the defence brought
out the fact that he had never been too sanguine of the President’s
chances. During the fateful week he never voiced his apprehension
and was loyal in support of Dr. Mann and the other surgeons.
It was Dr. Mann who wielded the knife
at the Exposition hospital and Dr. Mynter was beside him, giving
hi[s] advice. Dr. Mynter might have been the operator, but he believed
that Dr. Mann was a better abdominal surgeon than himself.
Dr. Mynter was courteous to most of
the newspaper men about the Milburn house, where Mr. McKinley died,
but one day he paused on his way to his carriage to pay his respects
to the yellow fellows who were sending out absolute fakes.
“You will grant,” he said, with his
Danish accent, “that it is impolite to ignore truth when it meets
y[o]u face to face. Surprise your readers for one day by being truthful,
accurate, and, above all, national.”
It was Dr. Mynter who recalled, after
the President’s death, that only one ruler had ever survived a bullet
wound. That one was William the Silent, who in 1580 was shot in
the jugular vein at the instance of Philip II. A surgeon held a
finger on the wound for three weeks. William recovered, but four
years later was shot in the abdomen by Balthazar Gerard and died.