RIP: Dr. Robert McClelland, Key JFK Witness

Dr. Robert McClelland indicates the location of JFK’s fatal head wound. (Credit: Reconstructive and Plastic Surgery)

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.

At a time when the U.S. government is still withholding all or parts of more than 15,000 JFK files, McClelland’s clear and consistent testimony is reminder of why the CIA and other federal agencies won’t practice full disclosure: they have something to hide.

In 1963, McClelland was 34 years old. He had just become the chief of surgery at Dallas’ Parkland Hospital. When the mortally wounded JFK was brought to Trauma Room One, McClelland stood over the dying president and directed 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 see the back of his head. There’s a wound in the back of his head that’s about five inches in diameter.”

After about ten minutes, Kennedy’s breathing and heartbeat ceased. The Secret Service came and took the body away.

Read the rest at JFK Facts


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