Parkland Hospital: Voices from History

All Exhibits

Trauma Room One

Door of Trauma Room One
Don Pyeatt Collection

Upon the president's arrival, Dr. James Carrico detected no pulse or blood pressure. However, Kennedy showed some signs of life, including strained respiration and a faint heartbeat. As more and more doctors arrived, they noted two wounds on the president—one in the neck and a massive wound in the head. They immediately began lifesaving efforts.

Dr. Ronald C. Jones performed a cutdown—a small incision in a vein—for the administration of medication. Attending surgeon Dr. Malcolm Perry began a tracheotomy, a procedure that creates an opening to aid in breathing. Since the president had a bullet wound in his throat below his Adam's apple, Dr. Malcolm Perry enlarged the existing hole for the procedure.

Although most of the doctors noticed what they believed was a severe wound in the right occipital-parietal (right rear) region of the president's head, no one made a detailed examination of it. President Kennedy soon went into cardiac arrest. Dr. Kemp Clark, chairman of neurosurgery, began a closed chest cardiac massage. A cardiotachioscope indicated no response from the president's heart. Clark pronounced President John F. Kennedy dead at 1:00 p.m. The first lady waited outside the door of Trauma Room One the entire time, refusing to leave her husband's side.