Thursday, October 25, 2012

President Garfield and a Twist

When Chris and I were traveling this past summer, we learned an interesting story about President Garfield.

President Garfield was elected President in March of 1881.  His presidency was one of the shortest of any president: just 200 days.

The story Chris and I were told was that a Frenchman, Charles J. Guiteau worked for President Garfield and helped him get elected.  After becoming president, President Garfield didn't make room for Mr. Guiteau in his cabinet and so Mr. Guiteau vowed to assassinate the president.

Charles Guiteau shot President Garfield on a train platform in July 1881.  One bullet grazed his arm and another embedded in his abdomen.

The president was rushed to the White House where doctors performed surgery after surgery trying to locate and remove the bullet in his abdomen.  The doctors felt it was the highest priority to follow the path of the bullet in his abdomen and procedure after procedure was performed to no avail.

The White House commissioned Alexander Graham Bell to create the first metal detector to help the doctors locate the bullet.  The metal detector always detected metal, so the surgeries continued.

President Garfield eventually died in the White House on September 19, 1881.  In an autopsy, the bullet was located behind the president's pancreas.

Current doctors theorize that the president could have survived the gunshot if the doctors had simply left the bullet alone.

In, what we find a pretty hilarious I LOVE LUCY twist, the metal detector that Alexander Graham Bell invented was definitely detecting metal... the president was laying on one of the first metal spring mattresses.

I can hear the I LOVE LUCY theme music...

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