King's death five days later triggered a call to arms by the San Francisco Vigilance Committee, and his funeral was the largest public gathering in the history of San Francisco. Beverly Cole reported to the Medical Society of the State of California that the sponge left in King's body for five days caused his death. The treatment recommended by Toland was, in his view, "gross malpractice." At the trial of a man implicated in King's murder, Toland and Cole played leading roles in the drama. If Cole was right, King's doctors caused his death and the man accused of his assassination should be set free. Toland's opinion prevailed, supported by autopsy findings that the death was caused by post-traumatic inflammation in the chest and veins. The San Francisco Herald concluded in its columns that James King of William was frightened to death by his doctors.References:
Gardner, Frances Tomlinson. "King Cole of California," Annals of Medical History, 3rd ser. 2, (May 1940, Part I), and (July 1940, Part II).
Harris, Henry. California's Medical Story. San Francisco: Grabhorn Press, 1932.
Lyman, George D. "The Sponge," Annals of Medical History 10 (1928): 460-479.