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Warren Commission Hearings: Vol. VI - Page 71« Previous | Next »

(Testimony of Dr. Conrad Peters Paul)

Mr. Specter.
involving the brain, and that open-heart massage would probably not add anything to what had already been done, and that external cardiac massage is known to be as efficient as direct massage of the heart itself.
Mr. Specter.
Was there any further treatment rendered to the President?
Dr. PETERS. Yes, Dr. Perry began immediate external compression of the chest in an effort to massage the heart, even before he asked the question as to whether the thoracotomy should be done. As soon as there was a question as to whether there was a pulse or not, he immediately began external chest compression.
Mr. Specter.
What other action was taken to aid the President, if any ?

Dr. PETERS. Well, cut downs were done on the extremities, and tubes were inserted in the veins, and I know on the right ankle anteriorly, and I believe in the left arm and also in the left leg, in order to administer fluid and blood which he did receive.
Mr. SPECTER. Have you now described all of the medical attention given the President?
Dr. PETERS. Well, I believe I have.
Mr. Specter.
And was the President subsequently pronounced dead?
Dr. PETERS. That's correct.
Mr. Specter.
And about what time was that pronouncement made?
Dr. PETERS. I could not give you the time within 5 or 10 minutes--I can tell you this much, though, I know what actually did happen.
Mr. Specter.
Tell me that.

Dr. PETERS. I was--we pronounced him dead and I was in the room, present while the priest gave him the last rites, during which time there was Dr. Jenkins and Dr. Baxter and Dr. McClelland, Mrs. Kennedy, the priest, and myself. Dr. Perry had left, as had most of the others by that time.
Mr. Specter.
Why did you remain?

Dr. PETERS. Well, I just hadn't gotten out of the door when the priest first came in and Dr. Jenkins asked everyone to leave except those people I have just named.
Mr. Specter.
Why did he exclude those from the group which were to leave?
Dr. PETERS. Well, I think they were nurses, and several other people he thought just best not remain and I'm sure that there was no intention to personally exclude anyone behind his request. He just sort of looked around and saw who appeared to be there and asked the others to leave.
Mr. Specter.
What did you observe as to the nature of the President's wound?
Dr. PETERS. Well, as I mentioned, the neck wound had already been interfered with by the tracheotomy at the time I got there, but I noticed the head wound, and as I remember--I noticed that there was a large defect in the occiput.
Mr. Specter.
What did you notice in the occiput?
Dr. PETERS. It seemed to me that in the right occipitalparietal area that there was a large defect. There appeared to be bone loss and brain loss in the area.

Mr. SPECTER. Did you notice any holes below the occiput, say, in this area below here?
Dr. PETERS. No, I did not and at the time and the moments immediately following the injury, we speculated as to whether he had been shot once or twice because we saw the wound of entry in the throat and noted the large occipital wound, and it is a known fact that high velocity missiles often have a small wound of entrance and a large wound of exit, and I'm just giving you my honest impressions at the time.
Mr. Specter.
What were they?

Dr. PETERS. Well, I wondered whether or not he had been shot once or twice that was my question at the time.
Mr. Specter.
When you say "we speculate," whom do you mean by that?
Dr. PETERS. Well, the doctors in attendance there.
Mr. Specter.
Any doctor specifically?
Dr. PETERS. I wouldn't mention anyone specifically, we all discussed it. I did not know whether or not he had been shot once or twice.
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