- Zachary Taylor:
· Before presidency: primary physician
- James Garfield:
· Within first day after shooting: primary surgeon
· In the months after shooting (in Washington): primary physician
· In the months after shooting (in New Jersey): primary physician
- Degree: MD
- Medical school: Western Reserve, 1845
- Bliss's first name was "Doctor"
- Bliss was the Army surgeon who tended to BG Zachary Taylor's malaria in Louisiana in 1844 [Bumgarner]. This is a little hard to square with the date of his medical degree, however, and so bears some investigating.
- He eventually became Surgeon General (of the Army, one presumes) [Bumgarner]
- From Pendel's book (pp. 116-117) comes this story, told by the White House steward, a Mr. Crump:
General Garfield had hold of Dr. Bliss's hand, and turned his head and asked me if I knew where he first saw Bliss. I told him I didn't, and he then said he would tell me. He said that when he was a youngster, and started for the college at Hiram, he had just fifteen dollars--a ten dollar bill in an old leather pocketbook, which was in the breast-pocket of his coat, and the other, five, was in his trousers pocket. He said he was footing it up the road, and as the day was hot, he took off his coat and carried it on his arm, taking good care to feel every moment or two for the pocketbook, for the hard-earned fifteen dollars was to pay his entrance at the college. After awhile he got to thinking over what college life would be like, and forgot all about the pocketbook for some time, and when he went to look for it, it was gone. He went back mournfully along the road, hunting on both sides for the pocketbook. After awhile he came to a house where a young man was leaning over a gate, and who asked him as he came up what he was hunting for. Garfield explained his loss, and described the property, when the young man handed it over. The President by this time was laughing, and concluded, 'That young man was Bliss, wasn't it, Doctor?' The Doctor laughed and said yes, and when General Garfield said 'he saved me for college,' answered, 'Yes, and maybe if I hadn't found your ten dollars you wouldn't have been President of the United States.' The President laughed at that, and said that if he got well, and made any mistakes in his administration, Bliss would have to take the blame.
- Dr. Zebra has seen a reference that says Bliss died from an infection he contracted while dressing one of Garfield's wounds. Not sure about this.
- Roos CA. Physicians to the Presidents, and their patients: a bibliography. Bull Med Library Assoc. 1961; 49(3): 291-360.
- Bumgarner, John R. The Health of the Presidents. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co., 1994; 73.
- Pendel, Thomas F. Thirty-Six Years in the White House. Washington: Neale Publishing Company, 1902.
Copyright (c) 2000-2013 by DoctorZebra.com. All Rights Reserved.