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Which Nurse said the tracheotomy tube "pushed out the back" of JFK's head?


Pat Speer
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In a June '67 article in Ramparts Magazine, William Turner wrote "a nurse at Parkland Hospital said that when doctors attempted a tracheotomy on the President, the damage was so great the tube pushed out the back of his head." Does anyone know which nurse said this? Or where Turner found this statement? I looked through the WC statements and testimony and found zip.

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In a June '67 article in Ramparts Magazine, William Turner wrote "a nurse at Parkland Hospital said that when doctors attempted a tracheotomy on the President, the damage was so great the tube pushed out the back of his head." Does anyone know which nurse said this? Or where Turner found this statement? I looked through the WC statements and testimony and found zip.

I've never heard this one before and think this would have been mentioned in the many detailed works on the autopsy and medical evidence before, if true. The damage was great, but never before mentioned in the throat or palate area. It is my guess is it is not accurate. I'd suggest you e-mail Turner and ask. Had it been said [whether correct or not] IMO the WC would not have included it.

I'd say it is an anatomical impossibility or gross medical malpractice. The trachea

leads to the lungs, not the brain.

Jack

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In a June '67 article in Ramparts Magazine, William Turner wrote "a nurse at Parkland Hospital said that when doctors attempted a tracheotomy on the President, the damage was so great the tube pushed out the back of his head." Does anyone know which nurse said this? Or where Turner found this statement? I looked through the WC statements and testimony and found zip.

I've never heard this one before and think this would have been mentioned in the many detailed works on the autopsy and medical evidence before, if true. The damage was great, but never before mentioned in the throat or palate area. It is my guess is it is not accurate. I'd suggest you e-mail Turner and ask. Had it been said [whether correct or not] IMO the WC would not have included it.

I'd say it is an anatomical impossibility or gross medical malpractice. The trachea

leads to the lungs, not the brain.

Jack

My research led me to suspect there were two head wounds, and that the lower entrance near the EOP led down the neck to the throat wound. After coming to this suspicion, I found that 1) Richard Lipsey told the HSCA the low head wound and throat wound were connected 2) Tom Robinson told the HSCA and ARRB these wounds were connected 3) George Burkley told the Kennedy Library there may have been two head wounds. If, when the doctors were putting in the trach tube, the tube followed the permanent bullet track back up into the head, as suggested by Turner's statement, then this is confirmation of my theory.

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My research led me to suspect there were two head wounds, and that the lower entrance near the EOP led down the neck to the throat wound. After coming to this suspicion, I found that 1) Richard Lipsey told the HSCA the low head wound and throat wound were connected 2) Tom Robinson told the HSCA and ARRB these wounds were connected 3) George Burkley told the Kennedy Library there may have been two head wounds. If, when the doctors were putting in the trach tube, the tube followed the permanent bullet track back up into the head, as suggested by Turner's statement, then this is confirmation of my theory.

While I'm not a doctor or nurse, it would seem to me that practitioners would not merely insert a tube and let it follow the path of least resistance, willy-nilly in any direction it chose to take. In a throat that hadn't perhaps been punctured antiorly, that could seemingly be as easily ipward as downward; that is, the tube would end up going out the mouth as easily as toward the lungs. Would there not be at least some effort toward ensuring that the tube was going in its intended direction, e.g., inserting it at an angle that would make it go toward the lungs rather than out the back of the head?

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My research led me to suspect there were two head wounds, and that the lower entrance near the EOP led down the neck to the throat wound. After coming to this suspicion, I found that 1) Richard Lipsey told the HSCA the low head wound and throat wound were connected 2) Tom Robinson told the HSCA and ARRB these wounds were connected 3) George Burkley told the Kennedy Library there may have been two head wounds. If, when the doctors were putting in the trach tube, the tube followed the permanent bullet track back up into the head, as suggested by Turner's statement, then this is confirmation of my theory.

While I'm not a doctor or nurse, it would seem to me that practitioners would not merely insert a tube and let it follow the path of least resistance, willy-nilly in any direction it chose to take. In a throat that hadn't perhaps been punctured antiorly, that could seemingly be as easily ipward as downward; that is, the tube would end up going out the mouth as easily as toward the lungs. Would there not be at least some effort toward ensuring that the tube was going in its intended direction, e.g., inserting it at an angle that would make it go toward the lungs rather than out the back of the head?

I would think so, but while reading through the nurses' testimony, I re-read some of Perry's, and he said something about McClelland helping him put the tube in place. This implied that he'd momentarily had trouble. Keep in mind also that a number of the doctors--Perry, Clark, and Jones if I remember correctly--concluded on the 22nd that the throat wound was an entrance, and that the head wound was an exit. Now something made them feel comfortable with the idea the bullet traveled up the neck. What was it that led them to accept this seemingly unlikely possibility? If the tube followed the path indicated by the nurse and Turner, then we have our answer.

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The neck x-ray shows the throat shot bruised the tip of the lung, fractured the

tip of the right T1 transverse process, and left an air pocket C7/T1.

The Clark Panel, Dr. Lattimer, and Larry Sturdivan all proclaimed that the neck x-ray shows a bullet track in the neck above the exit on the throat. I noticed this same thing and discuss it on my webpage. The HSCA FPP, however, since they believed the bullet slightly ascended in the back to exit at the throat, had no explanation for a wound track's being in the neck above the exit, and concluded that this air in the neck was air backed up in the neck when Kennedy's tie momentarily sealed off the hole in his trachea. That smells of deception, IMO. I read dozens of books and articles on gunshot wounds and missile tracks, and never read anything about a false track showing up on an x-ray due to clothing sealing off the wound. It also seems more than suspicious that this air just so happened to back up in the neck in the direction of the low EOP entry.

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My research led me to suspect there were two head wounds, and that the lower entrance near the EOP led down the neck to the throat wound. After coming to this suspicion, I found that 1) Richard Lipsey told the HSCA the low head wound and throat wound were connected 2) Tom Robinson told the HSCA and ARRB these wounds were connected 3) George Burkley told the Kennedy Library there may have been two head wounds. If, when the doctors were putting in the trach tube, the tube followed the permanent bullet track back up into the head, as suggested by Turner's statement, then this is confirmation of my theory.

While I'm not a doctor or nurse, it would seem to me that practitioners would not merely insert a tube and let it follow the path of least resistance, willy-nilly in any direction it chose to take. In a throat that hadn't perhaps been punctured antiorly, that could seemingly be as easily ipward as downward; that is, the tube would end up going out the mouth as easily as toward the lungs. Would there not be at least some effort toward ensuring that the tube was going in its intended direction, e.g., inserting it at an angle that would make it go toward the lungs rather than out the back of the head?

I would think so, but while reading through the nurses' testimony, I re-read some of Perry's, and he said something about McClelland helping him put the tube in place. This implied that he'd momentarily had trouble. Keep in mind also that a number of the doctors--Perry, Clark, and Jones if I remember correctly--concluded on the 22nd that the throat wound was an entrance, and that the head wound was an exit. Now something made them feel comfortable with the idea the bullet traveled up the neck. What was it that led them to accept this seemingly unlikely possibility? If the tube followed the path indicated by the nurse and Turner, then we have our answer.

Not being a doctor or nurse, I don't know if someone else helping insert a tracheostomy tube actually implies you're having trouble, how much trouble of what sort you might be having to need help, or whether it's perfectly normal to have help doing this even under the best of circumstances. Maybe you can elucidate and make this clearer for us lay-types.

My understanding has always been, correctly or not, that the neck wound and head wound were respectively presumed to be of entrance and exit primarily because of their appearances - small, neat hole going in; nasty, ugly wound going out - rather than any presumption of the bullet's path.

I don't think there's anything further than that which led them to a "conclusion" that "the bullet travelled up the neck," which I don't think they concluded at all. As I remember from Lifton's book, there were a couple of the Parkland doctors who were of the opinion that there was an entry in the head as well, like the left or right temple area.

Likewise, I don't think there's any indication that anything "led them to accept" any "unlikely possibility;" I think they simply reported their observations - wound of entry, wound of exit - without resorting to the path of the projectile, or whether there was one or more projectiles for that matter.

They did not know at the time, for example, what position JFK might've been in, or where the shots originated, to make any determination of the likelihood of any trajectory; likewise, they didn't see or know anything that indicated that the bullet that went in in front necessarily came out the back of the head ... or out at all: remember, they didn't see the back wound(s)!

Likewise, with a "blasted" skull in the back or on the side (depending upon which iteration you want to take the most stock in), there was nothing to preclude the possibility that there was not also a wound of entry in the same general region, or one that had been completely obscured by a later exit wound, or for that matter, an entry wound that didn't show at all to them because it happened after the large wound was already extant.

Earl Rose would've been the one to make those determinations, but alas, that wasn't the case. At Parkland, all they were doing, effectively, was guessing.

My research led me to suspect there were two head wounds, and that the lower entrance near the EOP led down the neck to the throat wound. ... If, when the doctors were putting in the trach tube, the tube followed the permanent bullet track back up into the head, as suggested by Turner's statement, then this is confirmation of my theory.

Bottom line is that you're left with a pretty big "if," IMHO, or at least one that's not convincing to the average Joe.

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Duke, if there is an early recorded statement of a nurse saying the trach tube pushed on the back of the head, it can be seen as support for my "theory."

The doctors knew Kennedy had been riding in a motorcade. They would have assumed he'd been sitting up. While it's possible they assumed the neck wound was an entrance, and the head wound an exit, and put two and two together, Dr. Clark would later say that the head wound looked like a tangential wound--a wound of both entrance and exit. He also said the large wound was missing scalp--a sign of entrance. So...there was quite possibly something said by someone to make him think the bullet traveled upwards in the neck. In Six Seconds, Thompson lists the various statements of the doctors, and they do indeed suggest that something had traveled up or down the neck.

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The neck x-ray shows the throat shot bruised the tip of the lung, fractured the

tip of the right T1 transverse process, and left an air pocket C7/T1.

The Clark Panel, Dr. Lattimer, and Larry Sturdivan all proclaimed that the neck x-ray shows a bullet track in the neck above the exit on the throat.

More than a half-dozen Parkland witnesses described the wound as

an entrance.

I noticed this same thing and discuss it on my webpage.

Then you are just as wrong as they are.

The HSCA FPP, however, since they believed the bullet slightly ascended in the back to exit at the throat, had no explanation for a wound track's being in the neck above the exit, and concluded that this air in the neck was air backed up in the neck when Kennedy's tie momentarily sealed off the hole in his trachea. That smells of deception, IMO. I read dozens of books and articles on gunshot wounds and missile tracks, and never read anything about a false track showing up on an x-ray due to clothing sealing off the wound. It also seems more than suspicious that this air just so happened to back up in the neck in the direction of the low EOP entry.

Any properly tailored shirt will leave a quarter inch space between the tie and the skin.

The bruised lung tip, the fracture of the tip of the right T1 transverse process,

and the air pocket at C7/T1 are consistent with a shot to the throat from the front.

Before the call to Killian at the FBI Lab -- during which the Magic Bullet was

introduced -- the autopsists shared a "general sense" that JFK was struck with

blood soluble rounds.

The neck x-ray is consistent with that conclusion.

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Before the call to Killian at the FBI Lab -- during which the Magic Bullet was

introduced -- the autopsists shared a "general sense" that JFK was struck with

blood soluble rounds.

While there are very exotic! water/blood soluble bullets, I'd not expect anyone to come up with a 'general sense' of that right off....they are exotic to the extreme and I'm sure few doctors have ever heard of them, let alone, seen the results of them. Where does this statement of a shared general sense come from....doesn't ring any bells to me. Again, such exotic munitions exist, but they take special guns and special handling of the bullets before firing - very!~

From the signed affidavit of FBI SA Francis O'Neill:

Some discussion did occur concerning the disintegration of the bullet. A general

feeling existed that a soft-nosed bullet struck JFK. There was discussion concerning

the back wound that the bullet could have been a "plastic" type or an "Ice" [sic]bullet,

one which dissolves after contact.

From the signed affidavit of FBI SA James Sibert:

I recall the doctors looking for a bullet in the body in connection with the back

wound and becoming frustrated during their search. They probed the wound

with a finger and Dr. Finck probed it with a metal probe. They concluded that

the wound went in only so far and they couldn't find the bullet. It was my

impression that both Finck and Humes agreed that there was no exit wound of

the bullet through the back. The doctors also discussed a possible deflection of

the bullet in the body caused by striking bone. Consideration was also given to

a type of bullet which fragments completely....Following discussion among the doctors

relating to the back injury, I left the autopsy room to call the FBI Laboratory and

spoke with Agent Chuch [sic]Killion. I asked if he could furnish any information regarding

a type of bullet that would almost completely fragmentize...

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