Hospitals

Healthcare and the JFK assassination: Friday reads on Parkland Memorial Hospital

Nov. 22 marks the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Medicine can’t heal all wounds and can’t stop all grief. That was certainly the case when Kennedy died at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas and the nation began its mourning and reeling. Here are three of the best stories considering JFK’s final care […]

Nov. 22 marks the 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Medicine can’t heal all wounds and can’t stop all grief. That was certainly the case when Kennedy died at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas and the nation began its mourning and reeling. Here are three of the best stories considering JFK’s final care provider:

1. From the LA Times, this account from nurse Phyllis Hall who was working there on that day:

“I thought the doors had exploded,” Hall recalled. “I don’t think we had time to think about it — there was just a lot of confusion and yelling.”

Kennedy was rushed in and members of the motorcade kept arriving.

“They brought in LBJ. Of course, he’d had heart trouble and his color was just terrible, so they were treating him. Then they brought Gov. Connally in and he was just spitting blood — his lung had been punctured,” Hall said. It was, she thought later, “like a newsreel — you knew all these people but they were so out of context, it didn’t seem real.”

2. VIDEO: From KHOU TV in Houston, the account of the surgeon who operated on Gov. John Connally.

Fifty years later, sitting in his cluttered office, he still recalls what he later heard his 3-year-old daughter said the evening of the assassination. It was her turn to deliver the family’s dinner prayer.

“The words that came out of her mouth was, ‘The world is dark and we are very sad.’ ” Duke recalls.

3. “A Death in Emergency Room One” by Jimmy Breslin, written in 1963.

Here is the most important man in the world, Perry thought.

The chest was not moving. And there was no apparent heartbeat inside. The wound in the throat was small and neat. Blood was running out of it. It was running out too fast. The occipitoparietal, which is a part of the back of the head, had a huge flap. The damage a .25-caliber bullet does as it comes out of a person’s body is unbelievable. Bleeding from the head wound covered the floor.

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