Doctors killed Pres. Garfield

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"Twelve different doctors inserted unsterilized fingers and instruments in Garfield's back probing for this bullet," Millard recounted, "and the first examination took place on the train station floor. I mean, you can't imagine a more germ-infested environment."

American doctors at the time didn't believe germs existed at all. And according to Dr. Jeffrey Reznick of the National Library of Medicine, they rejected the use of antiseptics pioneered by British surgeon Joseph Lister, for whom Listerine would later be named "Lister, an Englishman, embraced this theory in the early 1860s," said Reznick. "American doctors did not believe in the Listerian Theory because they subscribed to the miasma theory, the fact that bad air caused disease and illness, not germs. They didn't believe in germs - germs you couldn't see."...

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