EXPIRED: 12/05/09 – Dr. Malcolm O. Perry, 80, was one of four doctors who struggled to save a mortally wounded President John F. Kennedy on Nov. 22, 1963, an experience that shook the world and changed this young doctors life.
Interestingly, Perry rarely spoke of the assassination, except in his official government testimony.
Perry was eating lunch in Parkland’s main dining room on Nov. 22, 1963, when an emergency page came over the hospital’s speaker system. When he picked up the phone, the operator told him the president had been shot.
By the time the 34-year-old physician arrived in the Emergency Room, Kennedy was already there.
He was joined by Drs. Charles Carrico, Charles Baxter and Robert McClelland, who — after Perry’s passing — is the only surviving member of the historic surgical team.
Minutes later, after the president was declared dead, Secret Service agents asked each of the physicians to write their impressions of the president’s injuries. Years later, those notes became key evidence in the Warren Commission.
Perry’s early account of the president’s injuries gave rise to conspiracy theories that persist today — that the small wound near Kennedy’s Adam’s Apple could have been an entrance wound, suggesting a shot from the ‘Grassy Knoll’ instead of the sniper’s nest on the sixth floor of the Texas Book Depository.
Perry later told the Warren Commission he believed the bullet hole was an exit wound, supporting the single-gunman theory that was the foundation of the government’s investigation.
Two days later Perry and McClelland rushed into an Emergency Room to help Dr. Tom Shires save the life of Lee Harvey Oswald.
In time, public interest faded and the men continued with their careers.
Perry, a private pilot and avid golfer, became a faculty member at UT Southwestern from 1962 to 1974, serving as professor and chief of vascular services. He held similar positions at the University of Washington School of Medicine, Cornell and Vanderbilt universities. He returned to UT Southwestern in 1996 and retired as a professor emeritus in 2000.
Cause of death: lung cancer.