President Garfield’s Condition: August 20, 1881, 12:30 PM

Portraits of Garfield's six doctors surround an illustration of the President on his sickbedEXECUTIVE MANSION,
August 20, 1881.

12.30 P. M.
The President continues to do well.  He is taking liquid food by the mouth in increased quantity and with relish.  The nutritive enemata are still successfully given, but at longer intervals.  His pulse is now 107; temperature, 98.4°; respiration, 18.  At the morning dressing the wound was looking well and the pus discharged was of healthy character.  After the operation of August 8, the flexible tube used to wash out the wound at each dressing readily followed the track of the ball to the depth of three and a half or four inches.  At the dressing, however, a small quantity of healthy pus came, as was believed, from the part of the track beyond this point, either spontaneously or after gentle pressure over the anterior surface of the right iliac region; but this deeper part of the track was not reached by the tube until yesterday morning, when the separation of a small slough permitted it to pass, unresisted, downward and forward for the distance of twelve and a half inches from the external surface of the last incision.  This facilitates the drainage and cleansing of the deeper parts of the wound, but has not been followed by any increase in the quantity of pus discharged.  The large pus cavity which had formed in the immediate vicinity of the broken rib is filling up with healthy granulations, and the original wound of entrance, as far as that cavity, has healed.


This post is one of a series reenacting the official bulletins released to the public by the physicians to President Garfield during his illness after the shooting on July 2, 1881.

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