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When President Garfield was shot by an assassin in 1881, the best and brightest in medicine and science did everything they could to save him - and turned the President into a human guinea pig. But they missed something big, that could have saved him. To find out what it was, we spoke to surgeon and medical historian Dr Ira Rutkow, and Sara Murphy - collections manager at the National Museum of American History.

To find out more about this story, read Dr Ira Rutkow’s book - James A. Garfield: The American Presidents Series.

Check out the transcript, with all the citations - here.

This episode was produced by Kaitlyn Sawrey with help from Wendy Zukerman, along with Meryl Horn, Rose Rimler and Michelle Dang. We’re edited by Blythe Terrell, extra editing help from Caitlin Kenny. Fact checking by Michelle Harris. Mix and sound design by Peter Leonard. Music written by Emma Munger, Peter Leonard, and Bobby Lord. Thanks to the National Museum of American History, Dr Howard Markel, Prof. Charles Rosenburg and Candice Millard. 

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