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July 8, 1983

Elisha Dick, Benjamin Rush, and George Washington-Reply

JAMA. 1983;250(2):164. doi:10.1001/jama.1983.03340020016011

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In Reply.—  Dr Schneck is correct in pointing out that Dr Dick was not in favor of the continued bleeding of General Washington. We did not intend to leave that impression. Indeed, Dr Dick was overruled on this point by the other physicians, Drs Craik and Brown, just as he was overruled when he suggested that a tracheostomy be performed to relieve the obstructed airway. At that time, tracheostomies had not been performed in America, and it is not surprising that the older physicians believed it to be too risky a procedure to perform for the first time on the country's leading citizen (a view that many older physicians might still hold today).We used the circumstances surrounding Washington's death to illustrate the lengths to which Cobbett would go to make a point. Cobbett rarely let cold facts stand in his way when he wished to castigate an enemy. This