Abstract

In 1881, President James A. Garfield was shot in the back and died 79 days later. During this time, many controversies arose that had repercussions for years to come. Who was to manage the President's care? A prominent local physician took on the case, but after Garfield's death, he was highly criticized for inappropriate care and for excluding more highly qualified surgeons. Where was the bullet? Multiple opinions were given including that of Alexander Graham Bell. The correct suggestion turned out to be that of a young, unknown assistant demonstrator of anatomy. What was the proper treatment? Local wound care, removal of the bullet, and laparotomy all were considered. Many have felt that the choice of treatment may have proved to be worse than the injury itself. What did the autopsy show? Even this was controversial, with different observers claiming different results. This historical perspective reviews the case as well the controversies that surrounded it.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E183-186
JournalSpine
Volume28
Issue number10
StatePublished - May 15 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Clinical Neurology

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'The case of James A. Garfield: a historical perspective.'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this