Physician says Oswald "lethally injured" by time he arrived

DALLAS, Nov. 24, 1963 (UPI) - Dr. Malcolm O. Perry said today that accused presidential assassin Lee Harvey Oswald was "lethally injured" by the time he arrived at Parkland Hospital's emergency room. "I could tell he was lethally injured when he came in," Perry said.

Dr. Tom Shires, chief of surgery at Parkland, said however that Oswald had an outside chance.


Shires made this formal statement:

"We first saw Mr. Oswald in the Parkland emergency room No. 2 around 11:30 a.m. (CST) Sunday, Nov. 24. At that time, he was unconscious, had no blood pressure, but made agonal respiratory efforts (dying gasps).

"The endotracheal tube was placed (in his throat to aid breathing) by Dr. M.T. Jenkins, chief of anesthesia. Intravenous fluids and blood were started (in the veins).

"There was a gunshot wound entrance over the left lower lateral (lower left rids) chest wall and the bullet could be felt in the subcutaneous tissue (beneath the skin) on the opposite side of the body, over the right lower lateral chest cage.


"It was probable, from his condition, that the bullet had injured the major blood vessels, aorta (main artery from the heart) and vena cava below the diaphragm. Consequently, he was taken immediately to the operating room and through a mid-line abdominal incision, the abdomen was exposed.

"Several liters (a liter is 1.057 quarts) of blood were immediately encountered. Exploration revealed that the bullet had gone from the left to right, injuring the spleen, pancreas, aorta, vena cava, right kidney and right lobe of the liver. The bullet then came to rest in the right chest wall.

"The major bleeding points were then identified and controlled. At this time, there was a low but measurable blood pressure.

"Massive transfusions were being given in multiple sites. At this time cardiac arrest occurred (his heart stopped). The left chest was opened and the heart was found in standstill.

"Cardiac massage was started and a pulse obtained with massage. Cardiac fibrillation (rapid and weak heart flutter) ensued and in spite of intercardiac (injected directly into the heart) drugs, and the fibrillation, no effective heart beat was ever established. When the signs of death were absolute, he was pronounced dead at 1:07 p.m.

"The patient never regained consciousness and died of massive injury from a close range gunshot wound."


After the formal statement, Shires said that the type of "shock" suffered by Oswald was "the most effective type" to kill people.

He explained there are about six quarts of blood overall in the body.

"Two thirds of it had emptied into the abdominal cavity," he said.

He said that while on the operating table, Oswald "groaned a time or two," but otherwise made no sounds.

Shires said that some people have been known to recover from the type of wound that killed Oswald.

"It all depends on the massive amount of blood lost, and how quick you can arrest the blood flow," he said. "You just don't know about this type of wound."

He said that while Oswald was on the operating table, he received nearly 15 pints of blood (nearly two gallons, or more than a complete replacement of all the blood in Oswald's body).

"I suppose he was conscious for a few minutes after he was shot, but when he got to the emergency room the pupils of his eyes were beginning to dilate in the method of dying persons," the doctor said.

He explained that a dying person goes through this pupil dilation from lack of blood in the brain.


He said that President Kennedy's eyes were already dilated when he was brought into the emergency room. In other words, Kennedy died faster than his accused assassin.

Kennedy's wound was directly in the brain which kills quicker than a wound in the abdomen, the doctor said.

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