Jump to content
The Education Forum
Robert Prudhomme

JFK's "SHALLOW" BACK WOUND REVISITED (FOR THE UMPTEENTH TIME)

Recommended Posts

Things have been pretty dull around here lately so, I thought it might be a good time to take another look at JFK's "shallow" back wound; observed by many witnesses to be almost six inches below JFK's collar line (about the level of thoracic vertebra T3) and about 1.5-2 inches to the right of JFK's spinal midline.

First, let's see whereabouts on JFK's back that entrance wound would have been, and how it relates to the location of bones and organs in the upper thorax.

posterior_lungs1341270126571.jpg

ribcage-posterior.png?t=1414771634491

As seen in the top diagram, a bullet entering the back at the level of T3 and 1.5-2 inches to the right of the spine would have nowhere to go but into the Right Upper Lung (RUL). As the skeletal diagram shows, this bullet would miss both the vertebrae and the scapula (shoulder blade) and would have an excellent chance of passing between two ribs, without touching either of them.

As I have pointed out many times, it has long been held as fact that the bullet that hit JFK's back only penetrated the flesh of his back a mere inch; not far enough to enter JFK's right pleural cavity. This shallow penetration, supposedly probed by Commander Humes' finger, is credited to a phenomenon known as a "short shot", in which a rifle cartridge is either loaded with an insufficent gunpowder charge or the entirety of the gunpowder charge in the cartridge does not ignite, drastically reducing the muzzle velocity of the bullet.

In order to reduce the penetrating power of a 6.5mm Carcano bullet, at a 50 yard range, to the point where this bullet will not penetrate more than an inch in soft tissue, its normal muzzle velocity of 2200 feet per second would have to be reduced to less than about 400 feet per second (fps). This presents all kinds of problems in a) accurately hitting within 20 feet of your target and B) actually getting the bullet to its target.

If you have a rifle that is properly sighted in at a range of, for argument sake, 100 yards, and you chamber a good round into the breech, hitting a target at 50-100 yards is a simple matter of aiming and squeezing the trigger. However, bullets begin to drop as soon as they leave the barrel, and if that bullet leaves the barrel travelling at 1/5th the expected velocity, and the shooter is aiming in a normal fashion and expecting his bullet to be travelling 2200 fps, that bullet will end up impacting the ground (or pavement) far short of the aim point. In the case of JFK, I would not even expect it to hit the back of the limo. This is why it is called a "short shot", as the bullet impacts far "short" of the point of aim.

The next problem you would have with such a slow moving bullet is stability in flight. While the rifling grooves in the rifle's barrel that impart a gyroscopic spin to the bullet in flight account for most of the bullet's stability, the velocity that bullet is travelling at also plays a big part in whether the bullet remains stable in flight, or whether it begins to yaw and tumble on its way to its target. I have seen this problem when handloading rifle cartridges and experimenting with different types of gunpowder, different loads of gunpowder and different weights and styles of bullets. Just by changing the velocity of the bullet slightly, by adding more or less gunpowder, it is possible to over- or under-stabilize a bullet, with the resulting "keyhole" effect on a paper target. A "keyhole" is when a tumbling bullet goes through a paper target side on, leaving the inevitable "keyhole" in the target instead of a round hole. If a bullet still travelling in excess of 2000 fps can be under-stabilized by a reduction in velocity, imagine the lack of stability in the typical 2200 fps bullet reduced in velocity to only 400 fps.

Quite frankly, I don't believe such a slow bullet could have ever made it to JFK's back, making the shallow back wound a myth; at least in my eyes anyways.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Quite frankly, I don't believe such a slow bullet could have ever made it to JFK's back, making the shallow back wound a myth; at least in my eyes anyways.

So what are you saying happened, Bob? Humes probed the back wound and it terminated not very deeply. You can see the wound on the autopsy photo. You can see the bullet hit Kennedy in the Z film right after he throws his hands up - he lurches forward and his head bobs backward and then forward from the force of the bullet.

I'm genuinely curious what your alternative theory to the back wound myth is.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Quite frankly, I don't believe such a slow bullet could have ever made it to JFK's back, making the shallow back wound a myth; at least in my eyes anyways.

So what are you saying happened, Bob? Humes probed the back wound and it terminated not very deeply. You can see the wound on the autopsy photo. You can see the bullet hit Kennedy in the Z film right after he throws his hands up - he lurches forward and his head bobs backward and then forward from the force of the bullet.

I'm genuinely curious what your alternative theory to the back wound myth is.

Well, think about this for a minute, Michael. A 6.5mm Carcano bullet, which actually measures 6.8 mm in diameter, equates to just a shade over 1/4 inch in diameter (.2677 "). I measured my pinkie finger at the first knuckle and found my finger to be roughly 3/4 inch in diameter.

Unless Humes had fingers like a 4 year old girl, how was he able to probe the entrance wound with his finger? Do you believe skin and muscle is elastic enough to stretch the entrance wound to three times its diameter?

This is why research in this case progresses to a certain point and then stalls. There are so many "facts" in this case that everyone seems to blindly accept. The key is to question everything.

In the next few posts, I will examine the medical evidence (specifically the Warren Commission testimonies of Dr. Charles Carrico and Dr. Malcolm Perry) to see if the surgeons at Parkland gave us any indication of JFK's right lung being wounded. I believe you will be surprised at the evidence that has been right out in front of us for over 50 years.

P.S.

Just for comparison, I have attempted, in the past, to probe .30 calibre (.308") entrance wounds in a deer, and have been unable to insert my finger into one of these slightly larger entrance wounds.

Edited by Robert Prudhomme

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So, if the bullet did penetrate JFK's Right Upper Lung, why did it not exit the front of his chest? The most reliable medical information we have access to are the Parkland surgeons' first day medical reports, and not one of these mentions an exit wound in the front of JFK's chest. Therefore, if I am correct about the "short shot" myth, one of two things happened:

1) JFK was shot in the back with a rapidly expanding bullet (ie. hollow point) that came to a stop partway through his chest cavity. This would necessitate removal of this bullet prior to autopsy or the removal of this bullet at the autopsy and concealing its discovery and removal from any witnesses present.

2) JFK was shot in the back with a type of hollow point bullet made entirely from compressed metal powder, known as a "frangible" bullet. This bullet would be under great hydraulic stress travelling through the soft tissue of the right lung, and would completely disintegrate into a cloud of metal powder, capable of great destruction, partway through the lung.

I should point out that both a hollow point and a frangible bullet will make a tiny entrance wound in soft tissue and they will both perform to the full capacity of their destructiveness without coming in contact with any bony structure. In fact, both of these bullets perform far better only travelling through soft tissue. This is not to say, though, that they are incapable of penetrating skull bone. They will penetrate skull bone, leaving only a small entrance wound, and then wreak utter devastation travelling through brain matter.

Edited by Robert Prudhomme

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Below are excerpts from, first, the Warren Commission testimony of Dr. Charles Carrico, followed by selected excerpts from the Warren Commission testimony of Dr. Malcolm Perry. I am posting these excepts in this order because Carrico arrived in Trauma Room One before Perry, and was the first doctor to attempt to establish a patent airway in JFK. When Carrico's endotracheal tube proved ineffective, Perry elected to perform a tracheotomy.

Mr. SPECTER - What did you observe as to the President's condition upon his arrival?
Dr. CARRICO - He was lying on a carriage, his respirations were slow, spasmodic, described as agonal.
Mr. SPECTER - What do you mean by "agonal" if I may interrupt you for just a moment there, Doctor?
Dr. CARRICO - These are respirations seen in one who has lost the normal coordinated central control of respiration. These are spasmodic and usually reflect a terminal patient.
Mr. SPECTER - Would you continue to describe your observations of the President?
Dr. CARRICO - His-- the President's color--I don't believe I said--he was an ashen, bluish, grey, cyanotic, he was making no spontaneous movements, I mean, no voluntary movements at all. We opened his shirt and coat and tie and observed a small wound in the anterior lower third of the neck, listened very briefly, heard a few cardiac beats, felt the President's back, and detected no large or sucking chest wounds, and then proceeded to the examination of his head. The large skull and scalp wound had been previously observed and was inspected a little more closely. There seemed to be a 4-5 cm. area of avulsion of the scalp and the skull was fragmented and bleeding cerebral and cerebellar tissue. The pupils were inspected and seemed to be bilaterally dilated and fixed. No pulse was present, and at that time, because of the inadequate respirations and the apparent airway injury, a cuffed endotracheal tube was introduced, employing a larynzo scope. Through the larynzo scope there seemed to be some hematoma around the larynx and immediately below the larynx was seen the ragged tracheal injury. The endotracheal tube was inserted past this injury, the cuff inflated, and the tube was connected to a respirator to assist the inadequate respiration. At about this point the nurse reported that no blood pressure was obtained. "

"Mr. SPECTER - You had begun to describe some of the action taken in order to endeavor to revive the President. Will you continue with that description, please?

Dr. CARRICO - I believe we were to where the endotracheal tube had been inserted. After this, the President--his respirations were assisted by the Bennett machine. We again listened to .his chest to attempt to evaluate the respirations. Breath sounds were diminished, especially on the right, despite the fact that the endotracheal tube was in place and the cuff inflated, there continued to be some leakage around the tracheal wound. For this reason Dr. Perry elected to perform a tracheotomy, and instructed some of the other physicians in the room to insert chest tubes, thoracotomy tubes. "

"Mr. SPECTER - Upon your arrival in the room, where President Kennedy was situated, what did you observe as to his condition?

Dr. PERRY - At the time I entered the door, Dr. Carrico was attending him. He was attaching the Bennett apparatus to an endotracheal tube in place to assist his respiration.
The President was lying supine on the carriage, underneath the overhead lamp. His shirt, coat, had been removed. There was a sheet over his lower extremities and the lower portion of his trunk. He was unresponsive. There was no evidence of voluntary motion. His eyes were open, deviated up and outward, and the pupils were dilated and fixed.
I did not detect a heart beat and was told there was no blood pressure obtainable.
He was, however, having ineffective spasmodic respiratory efforts.
There was blood on the carriage. "

"Mr. SPECTER - Would you continue to describe the resuscitative efforts that were undertaken at that time?

Dr. PERRY - At the beginning I had removed my coat and watch as I entered the room and dropped it off in the corner, and as I was talking to Dr. Carrico in regard to the neck wound, I glanced cursorily at the head wound and noted its severe character, and then proceeded with the tracheotomy after donning a pair of gloves. I asked that someone call Dr. Kemp Clark, of neurosurgery, Dr. Robert McClelland, Dr. Charles Baxter, assistant professors of surgery, to come and assist. There were several other people in the room by this time, none of which I can identify. I then began the tracheotomy making a transverse incision right through the wound in the neck.
Mr. SPECTER - Why did you elect to make the tracheotomy incision through the wound in the neck, Dr. Perry?
Dr. PERRY - The area of the wound, as pointed out to you in the lower third of the neck anteriorly is customarily the spot one would electively perform the tracheotomy.
This is one of the safest and easiest spots to reach the trachea. In addition the presence of the wound indicated to me there was possibly an underlaying wound to the neck muscles in the neck, the carotid artery or the jugular vein. If you are going to control these it is necessary that the incision be as low, that is toward the heart or lungs as the wound if you are going to obtain adequate control.
Therefore, for expediency's sake I went directly to that level to obtain control of the airway.
Mr. SPECTER - Would you describe, in a general way and in lay terms, the purpose for the tracheotomy at that time?
Dr. PERRY - Dr. Carrico had very judicially placed an endotracheal but unfortunately due to the injury to the trachea, the cuff which is an inflatable balloon on the endotracheal tube was not below the tracheal injury and thus he could not secure the adequate airway that you would require to maintain respiration.
(At this point, Mr. McCloy entered the hearing room.)
Mr. SPECTER - Dr. Perry, you mentioned an injury to the trachea.
Will you describe that as precisely as you can, please?
Dr. PERRY - Yes. Once the transverse incision through the skin and subcutaneous tissues was made, it was necessary to separate the strap muscles covering the anterior muscles of the windpipe and thyroid. At that point the trachea was noted to be deviated slightly to the left and I found it necessary to sever the exterior strap muscles on the other side to reach the trachea.
I noticed a small ragged laceration of the trachea on the anterior lateral right side. I could see the endotracheal tube which had been placed by Dr. Carrico in the wound, but there was evidence of air and blood around the tube because I noted the cuff was just above the injury to the trachea.
Mr. SPECTER - Will you now proceed to describe what efforts you made to save the President's life?
Dr. PERRY - At this point, I had entered the neck, and Dr. Baxter and Dr. McClelland arrived shortly thereafter. I cannot describe with accuracy their exact arrival. I only know I looked up and saw Dr. Baxter as I began the tracheotomy and he took a pair of gloves to assist me.
Dr. McClelland's presence was known to me at the time he picked up an instrument and said, "Here, I will hand it to you."
At that point I was down in the trachea. Once the trachea had been exposed I took the knife and incised the windpipe at the point of the bullet injury. And asked that the endotracheal tube previously placed by Dr. Carrico be withdrawn slightly so I could insert a tracheotomy tube at this level. This was effected and attached to an anesthesia machine which had been brought down by Dr. Jenkins and Dr. Giesecke for better control of circulation.
I noticed there was free air and blood in the right mediastinum and although I could not see any evidence, myself any evidence, of it in the pleura of the lung the presence of this blood in this area could be indicative of the underlying condition.
I asked someone to put in a chest tube to allow sealed drainage of any blood or air which might be accumulated in the right hemothorax.
This occurred while I was doing the tracheotomy. I did not know at the time when I inserted the tube but I was informed subsequently that Dr. Paul Peters, assistant professor of urology, and Dr. Charles Baxter, previously noted in this record, inserted the chest tube and attached it to underwater seal or drainage of the right pneumothorax. "

Everything you need to know about an injury to JFK's right upper lung and the conditions and signs it produced can be found in these four excepts from these two doctors.

Examine them and, tomorrow, I will analyze precisely what it was they were attempting to relate to Specter and the Warren Commission.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Robert,

I do not have all my notes with me at the present, however I recollect that Sibert and O’Neil stated that Humes did indeed probe the wound with his pinkie. An that he concluded that it was a shallow wound.

I agree that the lung was damaged, but not anywhere near where T3 is located. Humes in testimony describes a wound - which he refers to as a bruise - was at the top of the lung.

Commander HUMES.The bruise here, photographs are far superior to my humble verbal description, but if I let my hand in cup shaped fashion represent the apical parietal pleura, it was an area approximately 5 cm. in greatest diameter of purplish blue discoloration of the parietal pleura. Corresponding exactly with it, with the lung sitting below it, was a roughly pyramid-shaped bruise with its base toward the surface of the upper portion of the lung, and the apex down into the lung tissue, and the whole thing measured about 5 cm., which is a little - 2 inches in extent, sir.” H2 369

The ammunition that you describe in post 4, had that kind of ammunition penetrated JFK’s body it would have created damage that could never have been concealed.

You are right to raise the issue of the back wound. It is indeed a problematic wound. If the wound did not enter the body - as I believe - then what caused that damage and where is the object that created that wound.?

I hope you do not intend to link the back wound with the throat wound. Such a link is impossible.

I will follow this thread with interest and reflect on your thinking on this subject.

James.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven’t studied the medical evidence to any great degree but I’ve always found it curious that there was a back wound that barely penetrated and, if you believe the throat defect was an entry wound, a throat shot that never exited.

Could supressors/silencers take that much velocity off a bullet? Just speculation. I find those two underpowered shots to be an interesting coincidence.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Robert,

I do not have all my notes with me at the present, however I recollect that Sibert and O’Neil stated that Humes did indeed probe the wound with his pinkie. An that he concluded that it was a shallow wound.

I agree that the lung was damaged, but not anywhere near where T3 is located. Humes in testimony describes a wound - which he refers to as a bruise - was at the top of the lung.

Commander HUMES.The bruise here, photographs are far superior to my humble verbal description, but if I let my hand in cup shaped fashion represent the apical parietal pleura, it was an area approximately 5 cm. in greatest diameter of purplish blue discoloration of the parietal pleura. Corresponding exactly with it, with the lung sitting below it, was a roughly pyramid-shaped bruise with its base toward the surface of the upper portion of the lung, and the apex down into the lung tissue, and the whole thing measured about 5 cm., which is a little - 2 inches in extent, sir.” H2 369

The ammunition that you describe in post 4, had that kind of ammunition penetrated JFK’s body it would have created damage that could never have been concealed.

You are right to raise the issue of the back wound. It is indeed a problematic wound. If the wound did not enter the body - as I believe - then what caused that damage and where is the object that created that wound.?

I hope you do not intend to link the back wound with the throat wound. Such a link is impossible.

I will follow this thread with interest and reflect on your thinking on this subject.

James.

James

I realize Sibert and O'Neil claimed to have witnessed Humes attempt to probe the back wound with his pinkie finger. As I have repeatedly stated, the Carcano bullet is roughly 1/4 inch in diameter, and I have measured the diameter of my pinkie finger at the first knuckle and found it to be roughly 3/4 inch. Is it not possible that Sibert and O'Neil were taken in by Humes, and that Humes simply could not put his pinkie finger into such a small hole? As I pointed out, I have tried this with larger .30 calibre (.308 inch) entrance wounds in deer, and my finger simply will NOT go into the hole.

The shallow back wound myth was attractive, for the simple fact it contradicted the Single Bullet Theory. However, there are so many other ways to disprove the SBT, it is time to let the shallow back wound go.

It is interesting to read the HSCA interview of Lt. Richard Lipsey, an officer with no medical experience who witnessed most of the autopsy and who likely overheard a great deal of the conversation between Humes, Finck and Boswell. According to Lipsey, the majority of the autopsy was spent dissecting the organs of the chest and abdomen looking for bullet fragments or a bullet. If the back wound did not penetrate the pleural lining of the chest, what would have been the point of dissecting these organs in search of bullet fragments?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would like to propose that the shallow back wound was caused by a small dart that would paralyze JFK and then dissolve.

It has been suggested that the throat wound with no exit was caused by such a dart, fired by the Umbrella Man.

We know that the CIA had other launching devices in addition to the umbrella to fire such paralyzing and dissolving darts.

Firing darts at JFK from two directions would make sense in case one missed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Robert,

The Sibert O'Neil report is quite specific. They witnessed Humes making this probe. The report reads that they witnessed Humes probing this wound. The idea that Humes fooled them does not seem realistic or probable. We know both had been instructed to witness everything and report back. Just because you could not do so, is not proof that Humes was also unable to do so?

I take it from your expression "it is time to let the shallow wound go" that you feel this may be a through wound. If I am right I will be interested how you can establish that.

Sibert%20ONeil_zpsfea1houe.png

James.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Robert,

The Sibert O'Neil report is quite specific. They witnessed Humes making this probe. The report reads that they witnessed Humes probing this wound. The idea that Humes fooled them does not seem realistic or probable. We know both had been instructed to witness everything and report back. Just because you could not do so, is not proof that Humes was also unable to do so?

I take it from your expression "it is time to let the shallow wound go" that you feel this may be a through wound. If I am right I will be interested how you can establish that.

Sibert%20ONeil_zpsfea1houe.png

James.

James

How close were Sibert and O'Neil to JFK when Humes supposedly probed the back wound with his finger? Were they standing right beside Humes, looking down, or were they in the gallery many feet away? Where does it actually state Humes used his pinkie finger?

Has it ever occurred to anyone that Humes was so inept, he thought he had found the bottom of the wound, simply because he could not work his fat finger any further into the 1/4 inch diameter entrance wound?

I'm sorry but, if the only evidence of a shallow back wound is two FBI agents, untrained in medical procedures, watching an autopsist from halfway across an autopsy theatre, there really is not much of a case for a shallow back wound.

Once again, if Lt. Lipsey correctly reported to the HSCA the autopsists spending such a great deal of time dissecting the chest and abdominal organs in search of bullet fragments, doesn't this tend to contradict Humes' first finding of a shallow back wound, especially if Humes believed the bullet that caused this back wound had entered JFK's back at a downward angle of 45° to 60°? Does not Humes' estimation of a 45° to 60° downward angle call into question his ability as an autopsist, or is it possible JFK was shot from a helicopter?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

First off, I must establish that I do not believe the back wound was connected in any way to the throat wound. Nor do I believe it was a through and through wound that exited the front of JFK's chest.

Humes was correct in searching through all of JFK's chest and abdominal organs, looking for a bullet or fragments of a bullet. In all fairness to Humes, he may have been genuinely unaware of the exotic type of bullet employed, and he may also have been sincerely puzzled at his inability to find a bullet or fragments of a bullet.

Here is something to think about, though. If an intact bullet, or fragment of a bullet, did range downward through his chest and lodge in an abdominal organ, where Lipsey stated Humes was searching for a bullet or bullet fragment, that bullet or fragment would leave an unmistakable path through the organs it traversed, showing tissue damage and haemorrhaging. In other words, Humes would not continue his search downward into the abdiminal organs without seeing obvious proof of passage of a bullet or fragment. Also, the diaphragm, separating the pleural cavity from the abdominal cavity, is one great unbroken expanse of tissue stretching from one side to another of the bottom of the pleural cavity. If a bullet or fragment passed from the pleural cavity to the abdominal cavity, it had to go through the diaphragm and it would have left a very obvious hole doing so.

Unless Humes was a complete idiot, why would he be searching abdominal organs for a bullet or fragment of a bullet if his initial exploration revealed an intact diaphragm?

Edited by Robert Prudhomme

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven’t studied the medical evidence to any great degree but I’ve always found it curious that there was a back wound that barely penetrated and, if you believe the throat defect was an entry wound, a throat shot that never exited.

Could supressors/silencers take that much velocity off a bullet? Just speculation. I find those two underpowered shots to be an interesting coincidence.

No, suppressors do not reduce the velocity of a bullet; not by 80% anyways. Any reduction in velocity would be miniscule.

The real question you should be asking is how a bullet travelling at an 80% reduction in velocity actually made it to the target without dropping to the earth far short of its target.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I haven’t studied the medical evidence to any great degree but I’ve always found it curious that there was a back wound that barely penetrated and, if you believe the throat defect was an entry wound, a throat shot that never exited.

Could supressors/silencers take that much velocity off a bullet? Just speculation. I find those two underpowered shots to be an interesting coincidence.

No, suppressors do not reduce the velocity of a bullet; not by 80% anyways. Any reduction in velocity would be miniscule.

The real question you should be asking is how a bullet travelling at an 80% reduction in velocity actually made it to the target without dropping to the earth far short of its target.

Or it wasn't any kind of conventional round,

MKNAOMI dart is far more likely.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

MKNAOMI dart is far more likely.

Cliff,

Would you happen to know if the other launching devices, besides an umbrella gun, included a camera?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...