Not unexpectedly, the latest release of government records collected from the investigation into the assassination of President John F. Kennedy did little to silence conspiracy theories, according to news reports. That includes a Seattle surgeon’s claim, which is reflected in the newly released records, that one of the doctors who operated on Kennedy confided he misled the Warren Commission about one of the president’s wounds.
In a nutshell, former University of Washington physician and professor Dr. Donald Miller Jr. says that the late Dr. Malcom Perry, the Dallas surgeon who tried to save Kennedy’s life on the Parkland Hospital operating table Nov. 22, 1963, questioned whether Lee Harvey Oswald fired all the bullets that struck Kennedy’s motorcade.
Miller, who later worked and taught with Perry at the University of Washington School of Medicine in the 1970s, says Perry told him there were entry wounds from both behind and in front of Kennedy, contradicting what he told the commission under oath. Perry confided similar details to an Alaska doctor as well.
HNN Editor: Gerald Posner, the author of Case Closed, interviewed Dr. Perry in 1992. At that time Perry was adamant that JFK was not shot from the front, as Posner notes in his book:
At a press conference following the announcement of the President’s death, Dr. Perry said in response to a question that the throat wound he saw “appeared to be an entrance wound.” “As the press is wont to do,” says Dr. Perry, “they took my statement at the press conference out of context. I did say it looked like an entrance wound since it was small, but I qualified it by saying that I did not know where the bullets came from. I wish now that I had not speculated. Everyone ignored my qualification. It was a small wound, slightly ragged at the edges, and could have been an exit or entrance. By Sunday, after working on Oswald, I had learned my lesson, and I handed out a written statement to the press and took no questions. I had got a lot smarter in two days.”
What of the opinion of the other four Parkland doctors who saw that wound before the tracheotomy?
No one at Parkland ever turned the President over, so they did not see the even smaller hole on his back that was in direct line with the one in the throat. Dr. Jones told the author, “The neck wound could have been either an entrance or an exit. I only called it an entrance wound because I did not know about the back wound.” Drs. Carrico and Baxter also agreed the wound could have been either an entrance or an exit. But the doctor with the most experience with gunshots at Parkland, Dr. Pepper Jenkins, recalls, “Even at that time, I was convinced it was a wound of exit because it was bigger than an entrance wound should be. Entrance wounds, as you look at them, are small and round, and may have a halo around them, black, from the bullet. But it makes a clean wound. When a bullet goes through the body, tissue moves in front of it and bursts.”