In this section (321 words), I report not JUST the facts surrounding George Washington’s death; I include my OPINIONS and CONCLUSIONS about his death.
George Washington’s Death
George Washington died over 200 years ago, in 1799 to be exact. It wasn’t due to old age, he wasn’t killed in a duel, he wasn’t trampled to death by one of the horses on his ranch. No, Washington’s untimely death was the result of doctor incompetence. But, since it was 200 years ago, perhaps we can forgive the doctors for their incompetency.
After forty years of public service, Washington had retired to his Mt. Vernon Plantation
which had “been neglected for decades” in hopes of making it “solvent and functional” again (Knott). Despite being in his late sixties, “he was still a commanding figure” and was often seen riding his horse throughout his property (“George Washington”). On December 12, 1799, only two years after the end of his presidency, Washington returned from having spent five hours inspecting his property on horseback. Washington wrote in his journal, “At about ten o’clock, it began to snow, soon after to hail, and then to a settled cold rain (Knott). Despite being cold and wet, Washington went on to dinner without changing from his clothes. He had company over and felt it would be impolite to be late (“The Death of…”). The next morning found him in bed with a sore throat and eventually a doctor was sent for.
Ultimately, three doctors and a plantation overseer tended to him with disastrous results: over 40 ounces of blood was drained from his body, “a mixture of molasses, butter, and vinegar [was administered] to soothe his throat”, but it was so thick and difficult to swallow that Washington almost suffocated (“The Death of…”). He was given an enema to cleanse his bowels and an emetic to induce vomiting. All of this for a cold and sore throat. "I die hard,” he said, “but I am not afraid to go.” After two days of outright quackery, George Washington, the first president of the United States, was dead.
(Normally, this would have a "hanging indent" but Wix does not make that easy.)
Knott, Stephen. “George Washington: Life After the Presidency.” US Presidents: George Washington, The Miller Center – U of Virginia, 2017, millercenter.org/president/washington/life-after-the-presidency.
“The Death of George Washington.” George Washington’s Mt. Vernon, Mt. Vernon Ladies’ Association, 2017, mountvernon.org/digital-encyclopedia/article/the-death-of-george-washington.
“George Washington.” History, A&E Networks, 2009, history.com/topics/us-presidents/george-washington.