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Upon the electrical experiments to determine the location of the bullet in the body of the late President Garfield
Washington DC: Gibson Bros., 1882. Bell, Alexander Graham (1847-1922). Upon the electrical experiments to determine the location of the bullet in the body of the late President Garfield; an upon a successful form of induction balance for the painless detection of metallic masses in the human body. 58pp. Text illustrations. Washington DC: Gibson Brothers, 1882. 228 x 150 mm. Original printed wrappers, spine perished, evidence of previous binding in a book (oversewing, glue and mesh at spine). Very good copy. Embossed stamp of the Connecticut State Library on front wrapper and first leaf. First Edition, Author’s Offprint for private circulation (so noted on the front wrapper) of the paper describing Bell’s induction balance, the best instrument for locating metallic objects in the body prior to the x-ray. On July 2, 1881 President James Garfield was shot by a deranged assassin and survived for 79 days before dying from septicemia on September 19. The assassination attempt left Garfield with a bullet lodged behind his pancreas, but his death could likely have been prevented had he received better medical care after the shooting. Unfortunately, his doctors did understand antiseptic principles and so did not take any measures to prevent infection, probing the president’s wound with unsterilized fingers and instruments in a vain attempt to find the bullet; they also misjudged the path the bullet took, believing that it had traveled to the right rather than to the left in Garfield’s body. Shortly after the shooting Bell was asked if he could invent a device to detect the bullet in Garfield’s body without the need for painful probing. Bell came up with his induction balance, a machine that used a telephone hooked up to an electric current to locate metallic objects in the body. On August 2 Bell tried to find the bullet lodged inside the president but was unsuccessful, in part because the metal in Garfield’s bed frame prevented Bell from getting an accurate result, and in part because Garfield’s doctor would only let Bell use his device on Garfield’s right side. The president’s deteriorating condition prevented Bell from making a second attempt, and after his initial failure he was denounced as a charlatan; however, an improved version of Bell’s induction balance saved countless lives on the battlefield in the decades before the x-ray came into general use. 8176.
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Last Found On: 2017-02-21           Check availability:      ABAA    


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