Radiograph of Theodore Roosevelt, 1912.
In this 1912 x-ray, one can clearly see the bullet that hit Teddy Roosevelt in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, on October 14, 1910, lodged right above his fourth rib on his right side. There is a small amount of shading surrounding the bullet, due to scar tissue buildup and the body’s natural attempts to encase foreign objects that it cannot remove.
Despite being shot, Roosevelt assumed he had not been hit in the lungs as he coughed no blood. He proceeded to give his 90-minute stump speech, though he prefaced it by stating,
Friends, I shall ask you to be as quiet as possible. I don’t know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot; but it takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose. But fortunately I had my manuscript, so you see I was going to make a long speech, and there is a bullet - there is where the bullet went through - and it probably saved me from it going into my heart. The bullet is in me now, so that I cannot make a very long speech, but I will try my best.
As the bullet pierced both his steel eyeglasses case and his speech notes before entering his body, it did not do significant damage, despite entering his lungs a solid two inches. Remembering the horrible complications that medical intervention had when William McKinley was shot by a bullet that would likely not have killed him, Teddy Roosevelt opted not to have the projectile removed. It never caused severe complications, and aside from a short recovery (two weeks time), never bothered Roosevelt to bear. He carried the bullet in his right lung to the day he died in 1919.
Image: George Grantham Bain Collection, United States Library of Congress.