William McKinley: Statement of Physicians after his Death

McKinley was shot twice at close range on Sept. 6, 1901. One bullet bounced harmless off his sternum and did not enter his body 1a. The other entered the left upper quadrant of his abdomen, piercing the front and back walls of the stomach 1b.

He underwent surgery within hours. He survived the operation, but died on the ninth post-operative day. Both his post-operative course MORE 2a and his autopsy MORE 2b have been meticulously documented 3 4.

There was intense controversy about McKinley's medical care SEE BELOW. Some thought that McKinley could have been saved had renowned surgeon Roswell Park performed the operation MORE. More recent commentators believe, however, that McKinley died from pancreatic necrosis, a condition which is still difficult to treat today, and which the surgeons of McKinley's time could not have treated or prevented 1.

After McKinley died, his physicians felt compelled to issue a statement 5a:
Buffalo, Sept. 17. -- The following statement was given out to-night by the physicians who attended President McKinley during his last illness:
The undersigned surgeons and physicians who were in attendance on the late President McKinley have had their attention called to certain sensational statements recently published indicating dissensions and recriminations among them.

We desire to say to the press and public, once for all, that every such publication and all alleged interviews with any of us containing criticism of one another or of any of our associates are false.

We say again that there was never a serious disagreement among the professional attendants as to any of the symptoms or as to the treatment of the case or as to the bulletins which were issued. A very unusual harmony of opinion and action prevailed all through the case.

The unfortunate result could not have been foreseen before the unfavorable symptoms declared themselves late on the sixth day and could not have been prevented by any human agency.

Pending the completion and publication of the official reports of the post-mortem examiners and attending staff we shall refuse to make any further statements for publication, and alleged interviews with any of us may be known to be fictitious.

Matthew D. Mann.
Roswell Park.
Herman Mynter.
Eugene Wasdin.
Charles G. Stockton.
Cited Sources
  1. Fisher, Jack. Stolen Glory: The McKinley Assassination. Alamar Books, 2001.
    a  p. xii  b  p.77
  2. Braisted, William C.; Bell, William Hemphill; Rixey, Presley Marion. The Life Story of Presley Marion Rixey: Surgeon General, U. S. Navy 1902-1910: Biography and Autobiography. Strasburg, VA: Shenandoah Publishing House, Inc., 1930.
    a  pp.51-70  b  pp.71-82

    Comment: Dr. Rixey was the White House physician for both William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt.

  3. Rixey, PM; Mann, MD; Mynter, H; Park, R; Wasdin, E; McBurney, C; Stockton, CG. Death of President McKinley. J.A.M.A. 1901;37:779.
  4. Rixey, PM; Mann, MD; Mynter, H; Park, R; Wasdin, E; McBurney, C; Stockton, CG. The official report on the case of President McKinley. J.A.M.A. 1901;37:1029.
  5. Halstead, Murat. The Illustrious Life of William McKinley, Our Martyred President. 1901.
    a  p.320

George Washington · John Adams · Thomas Jefferson · James Madison · James Monroe · John Q. Adams · Andrew Jackson · Martin van Buren · William Harrison · John Tyler · James Polk · Zachary Taylor · Millard Fillmore · Franklin Pierce · James Buchanan · Abraham Lincoln · Andrew Johnson · Ulysses Grant · Rutherford Hayes · James Garfield · Chester Arthur · Grover Cleveland · Benjamin Harrison · Grover Cleveland · William McKinley · Theodore Roosevelt · William Taft · Woodrow Wilson · Warren Harding · Calvin Coolidge · Herbert Hoover · Franklin Roosevelt · Harry Truman · Dwight Eisenhower · John Kennedy · Lyndon Johnson · Richard Nixon · Gerald Ford · James Carter · Ronald Reagan · George Bush · William Clinton · George W. Bush · Barack Obama · Donald Trump · Joseph Biden