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Correction and Clarification: Factors Contributing to the Death of General Stonewall Jackson-Reply

William L. Harlan, MD
JAMA. 1997;278(23):2064. doi:10.1001/jama.1997.03550230040026.
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My reference to bloodletting as a contributory cause of General Stonewall Jackson's death was incorrect. When I was a medical student, Dr Hunter McGuire, the great grandson of the surgeon (Dr Hunter Holmes McGuire) who cared for General Jackson, often lamented about the death of the Confederate general despite the best efforts of his forebear, who was a leader in American medicine. I assumed that the care included bleeding, commonly used as treatment at that time. The general sustained 3 musket ball wounds and, as Dr Turner points out, during evacuation from the battle scene was dropped from his litter. Jackson subsequently underwent surgical amputation of his left arm and developed right-sided pulmonary consolidation and effusion. The pulmonary complications have been attributed variously to pneumonia or pulmonary contusion or pulmonary embolism and were the immediate cause of death. General Jackson received cupping to the chest, but never received "therapeutic" bleeding

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