This day in history:
Minutes before giving a speech on a campaign stop in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Theodore Roosevelt is shot in an assassination attempt.
The would-be assassin’s bullet is slowed down after travelling through a steel eyeglass case and the folded, fifty page speech he intended to give, stopping in his chest. Realizing that he wasn’t coughing up blood, Roosevelt figured he was well enough to go ahead and deliver his speech rather than rush to the hospital.
He spoke for the next 90 minutes, opening with the words:
“Ladies and gentlemen, I don’t know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot; but it takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose.”
Doctors deemed it too risky to remove the bullet, and Roosevelt carried it with him inside his body for the rest of his life.
October 14, 1912 - 100 years ago today
Far be it for me to dispute what happened 100 years ago, but according to most accounts (including his son, Kermit’s), the first doctors who took those initial x-rays WANTED to remove the bullet.
From what I’ve read, Roosevelt asked for a second opinion after the recommendation, and made it very clear that if removing the bullet would in any way endanger his life, and was not causing any more damage where it was, he absolutely was not going to put himself in the same situation the McKinley ended up in - where the doctors were far more harmful (and deadly!) than the wound itself.
In the end, he of course left it where it was, and while he didn’t go on to be president again, he did complete a bloody hell of an Amazonian excursion after he recovered.