Dr. Robert McClelland, the surgeon who oversaw the effort to save President Kennedy’s life in 1963, died earlier this month at age 89. In his interviews, you sense a man of considerable dignity, humility, and integrity. It comes as no surprise that he self-published an anthology of writings on surgery to which thousands of doctors subscribed. He was both a teacher and doctor, an instructor and a healer. And it is those qualities that make McClelland one of the most important witnesses to JFK’s assassination.
In 1963, McClelland was 34 years old. He had just become the chief of surgery at Dallas’s Parkland Hospital. When the mortally wounded JFK was brought to Trauma Room One, McClelland stood over the dying president and participated in the efforts to save him. He observed the president’s fatal head wound for about 10 minutes from a distance of less than two feet.
“My God,” he recalled saying to his colleagues. “Have you seen the back of his head. There’s a wound in the back of his head that’s about five inches in diameter.”
The doctor who tried to save JFK’s life shows a memento of a terrible day to WFAA-TV in Dallas. On this occasion, he appropriately chose not share what he has said elsewhere at length: The nature of the president’s wounds indicated he had been shot from the front and the back. Read more
What prompted Bill Garnet, a man with a long career in the entertaining world of reality TV, to take on the daunting controversy of JFK assassination?
“A gaping hole in the story,” he said in a recent telephone interview “What happened in Trauma Room One?”
Actually Garnet, the Los Angeles-based producer of “The Parkland Doctors,” a forthcoming documentary about the seven doctors who tried to save President Kennedy’s life, has long been a student of the JFK case. As an undergraduate at the University of Miami he wrote his thesis the events of November 22, 1963.
But Garnet’s 30-year career as a TV producer and director took him in different direction.
In his recent 6th Floor Museum talk, scholar Max Holland invokes what he calls a “consensus” of “rational” people about the origins of the gunfire that hit President Kennedy. As this interview with Dr. Robert McClelland of Parkland Hospital shows, there is no such consensus.