Cleveland’s “Fishing Trip”

Just a quick re-blog for you guys today. I found this on Futility Closet's site here.

"Grover Cleveland underwent a secret surgery for cancer during his second term as president. The United States was in the grip of a financial panic in 1893 when Cleveland noticed a sore on the roof of his mouth. Doctors diagnosed a cancer and urged the president to have it removed, but Cleveland insisted on secrecy — Ulysses Grant’s death by an apparently similar cancer only eight years earlier had unsettled the nation, and Cleveland was loath to publicize his health concerns in the midst of an economic depression.

"So on June 30 Cleveland boarded a friend’s yacht under the pretense of a four-day fishing trip to the president’s summer home in Cape Cod. The ship’s saloon had been outfitted as an operating room [that's some serious Dexter shit if I ever heard it], and six doctors quietly joined the president before the yacht set sail.

"Cleveland was anesthetized and surgeon Joseph Bryant removed five teeth and a large portion of his palate and upper jawbone. The team fitted him with a rubber prosthesis to conceal his disfiguration and told the press that only two bad teeth had been removed.

"The secret was nearly lost when E.J. Edwards, a reporter for the Philadelphia Press, published an article about the surgery after confirming it with one of the doctors. But Cleveland denied it flatly and launched a smear campaign against him. The president returned to health, served out the remainder of his second term, and died finally in 1908. The disgraced reporter was vindicated only 24 years later, when one of the surviving doctors finally published an article acknowledging the truth."

Fun fact: I have actually seen the tumor they removed from Grover Cleveland's face-space. I went to the Mütter Museum in Philadelphia which is full of the freakiest shit you can imagine and it's glorious and you MUST go there if you ever visit. I'd show you a picture of the tumor, but you're not allowed to take pictures. Don't they realize I have blog readers to please? All I can say is; that tumor was gross.

To make up for it, please accept this picture of a 7-foot colon that is on display at the museum. I bought a postcard with it on it and took a picture of THAT. It's all I have.

(Side note, who in their PR department thought it'd be good advertising to send photos of distended entrails through the mail? "Come to our museum! We've got bowels!" I mean, it would totally work on ME, but I'm not most people.)

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3 Responses to Cleveland’s “Fishing Trip”

  1. hearts_blood says:

    I have not been to the Mütter Museum and I am jealous of you, BUT. I have seen images of Cleveland’s tumor in documentaries ABOUT the Mütter Museum.

    I can confirm that said tumor is, in fact, gross as all get-out.


  2. leia131 says:

    Professor Bozzone was OBSESSED with the Mutter Museum, and brought it up and every possible opportunity. I think she just liked to tell us stories about all the weird shit she’d seen there, and then judge our ability to hack it as developmental biologists based on our reactions.


  3. Anonymous says:

    I’d say they know their target audience, tbh. *nods in bemused approval*


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