In the spirit of Independence Day I thought it was interesting to take a explore the causes behind the deaths of a few of our most famous Revolutionary time patriots. When I began my research, I was anticipating early deaths due to illnesses and chronic diseases that are not treatable like hypertension and diabetes. It is interesting to note that many of the famous early Americans lived to an old age, but suffered from diseases that now could have been their final deaths.
George Washington: Washington is an exception to the comments above. Washington passed away at the age of 67, most likely from an infection of the pharynx, which could be the streptococcal disease. In the present, he could have been treated with antibiotics and escaped this disease.
Thomas Jefferson: Jefferson actually died from old age, living to of 83, and dying on July 4 1826. He was the third to sign the Declaration of Independence to pass. He was diagnosed with Uremia, nephropathy and could be dying of dehydration due to amoebic dysentery.
- One of the most interesting things I discovered about his death was that he composed his own epitaph and insisted on including “not a word more.”
- The epitaph did not mention his governorship in Virginia as well as vice-presidency or presidency:
- HERE WAS BURIED THOMAS JEFFERSON
- AUTHOR OF THE DECLARATION OF AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE
- THE STATUTE OF VIRGINIA FOR RELIGIOUS FREEDOM
- FATHER OF THE UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA.”
John Adams: As Jefferson was a fitting death date of July 4th, 1836 just minutes after Jefferson passed away at the age of 88 , making Adams the next and final Declaration of Independence signer to die. Adams also died from old age being afflicted with chronic heart disease and possibly coronary disease. He was 88 years old and could have lived longer had the great heart failure.
e treatments available today, however, it was clear that he lived an extended life. If you ask him, it was on July 4 the 4th it was reported that in his final hour of life, he said:
“It is a glorious day. It’s an wonderful morning.” The last words of his were published as “Thomas Jefferson lives”. The reporter was unaware that Jefferson was dead several hours earlier.
Benjamin Franklin: Despite being famous for his Syphilis,
- Franklin likely died from empyema an infection that affects the lung’s apex and chest wall.
- He was hospitalized for the rest of his life and most likely contracted pneumonia.
- Emphysema is a condition that can complicate pneumonia and while we’re in a position to treat both emphysema and pneumonia successfully however, at the age of 84, pneumonia is still considered to be the “old man’s friend.”
John Hancock: Hancock died at the age of 56, and was believed to be suffering.
- It is likely that gout contributed to him becoming bedridden and he died from complications caused by bed rest. Today , we’re extremely adept at treating gourmand it is likely that he could have had a healthier and longer with Modern Health technology in the present.
- The funeral of Hancock was among the most lavish funerals in modern America when he died on 8 October 1793.
Samuel Adams: Samuel Adams lived to age 81 and died on the 2nd of October 1803.
- Adams suffered from what’s now believed to be an an essential tremor which rendered him unable to write in his final decade.
- This is a condition that we have a good chance of successfully treating now and he would probably have had a higher health and quality of life with today’s medical treatment for this type of condition.
- I’m not able to make an explanation for the reason for death, but it is certain that he did not suffer from premature death.
James Madison: Madison was the final of the Founding Fathers of our country to die at the age of 26 on June 26, 1836, at 85 years old.
- As the main creator of our constitution as well as a major contributor of the Federalist Papers,
- A prominent early legislator in the later presidency,
- He was an enlightened mind. He appeared to struggle during his last years with anxiety,
- Possibly some form of dementia. He may be benefited from the help. Sometimes, his anxiety and depression caused him to be disabled.
- He passed away at a very old age, and was just referred to as “debility.”
John Paul Jones The marine hero from the Revolutionary war Famous for the phrase,
- I have not yet begun to fight,” during the fight against Serapis, the British naval vessel Serapis at sea in the North Sea in 1779.
- He passed away from brain tumors at the age of 45.
- The main benefit Jones could have enjoyed in today’s times would be the possibility of a lengthy US military career and medical care provided by the military. Unfortunately, we aren’t very successful in dealing with brain tumors.
- So Jones could have passed away at an early age.
did Benjamin Franklin have syphilis
Alexander Hamilton: Hamilton is believed by some to be our most revered secretary of our Treasury was killed in a well-known fight in the arms of Aaron Burr.
- The bullet was believed to have entered the lower abdomen of the right side and bounced off the pelvis, causing diaphragm,
- The liver, and various internal organ damage .
- It also ended up injuring the spinal cord near the level of L2 leading to Hamilton disabled. The next day, he died.
- The wound from the bullet could be still causing him death today however, duel shootings are now no more.
- Thanks to modern technology, he could be able to have survived as paraplegic.
Medicine in the Revolutionary War
- Being a soldier during the Revolutionary War was risky business and it was not just due to the combats.
- If war itself didn’t kill soldiers who sought medical treatment, injuries or illnesses could.
- The statistics show that soldiers stood a 98 percent probability of survival in battle, but only a 75 percent chance of survival in the hospital.
- Modern medical technology has made great strides however, what exactly did soldiers of their time in the Revolutionary War have to look towards if they required medical aid?
For a brief summary of the causes that led to the deaths of all President, go to What Caused Each President to Die? ?
Have fun on the Independence Day weekend.
Ed Pullen, MD, is a board-certified family physician who practices within Puyallup, WA. The Dr. Pullen shares his viewpoints on the latest medical news and policies from the perspective of a primary care physician on his website, Dr Pullen.