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The Madera Tribune

How comfort killed the president

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webmaster | 01/03/12

Life looked promising for James A. Garfield in 1880. He had just been elected President of the United States after a distinguished political and military career. As fate would have it, however, his life was cut short, due in no small measure to the bed on which he was placed after an assassin shot him.

Garfield was elected as the 20th President of the United States. He had been a Civil War general and a long tenured member of the House of Representatives. When he took the oath of office in March of 1881, nobody expected that just a few months later, a mournful nation would bury its second assassinated president.

On July 2, 1881, in a Washington railroad station, Charles Giteau, an embittered attorney who had unsuccessfully sought a consular post, shot the president. They carried the wounded chief executive to the White House, and there he lingered for two months.

Physicians from all over the country were called in to help save the president’s life. Through all of July and August, Garfield’s doctors kept their vigil, attempting to solve one very perplexing problem. The medics couldn’t find the bullet in Garfield’s body. They felt and probed for days on end with no luck...


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