James A. Garfield, the 20th President of the United States, was assassinated in 1881 by gunman Charles J. Guiteau firing into his abdomen. He also suffered a grazing bullet wound to his arm.
What is not generally recognized is that Garfield lived for eleven weeks after being shot. The mortal injury occurred when a bullet partially transsected the splenic artery, eventually resulting in the days before antibiotics in an infected pseudoaneurysm that ruptured and caused exsanguination and a likely myocardial infarction.
In James A. Garfield’s case, a likely case of probable abdominal sepsis from the bullet was no doubt furthered by the un therapeutic practice of the day that stressed digital probing (with non-sterile hands) of the bullet track to ascertain its path through the body.
In modern trauma care, Garfield’s wound has an excellent chance at treatment and full-recovery.