Updated: Apr 5
A closer look at Dr. Perry's life and statements regarding the Assassination
Dr. Malcolm Oliver Perry II 1964, Photo Credit: University of Texas Southwestern Medical School Archives
For years I've noticed those on the Conspiracy side of the argument attempt to twist the words of Dr. Perry around. To recall the incident, Dr. Perry and Dr. Kemp Clark held a press conference after the President's death in a Nurse's Training conference room. Both Doctors were asked many questions regarding the cause of death since they were both attending the futile attempt to save the President's life. In this press conference Dr. Perry was questioned and he stated a shot to the throat (near the Adam's Apple) was noticed. Perry stated it appeared to be an "entrance wound" but was uncertain. That statement got immediately picked up by the press, and it spread rumors about a frontal shot. To this day, Conspiracy Theorists still maintained that Perry still believed the President was shot from the front.
Dr's Perry and Clark, Photo Credit: Houston Chronicle
Nothing can be further from the truth, as Dr. Perry has stated many times, he regretted the statement and felt his remarks were taken out of context.
Let's take a brief look at Dr. Perry's life and background before jumping into the arguments.
Malcom "Mack". Perry II was born in Allen, Texas (just north of Dallas) on September 3, 1929, and died of Lung Cancer in a Tyler, Texas hospital on December 5, 2009 (80 years old). His father, Kent C. Perry died in 1934 (27 years old) of a heart attack. His mother, Alice Rosemary Carlton, later remarried and moved to Plano, Texas. It was in Plano where Mack Perry went to school, excelling in sports.
Mack Perry's grandfather and namesake, Malcom Oliver Perry I, was a well-known doctor in Allen, Texas in the early 20th century. No doubt Mack Perry took his inspiration for a medical career from his grandfather, spending time with him in Allen.
Unfortunately for Mack, tragedy again struck his grandmother, Mary Perry in 1947 while attending a basketball game that Mack was playing in 1947 for Plano High School in Greenville, Texas. She died of unknown causes near the end of the game, at 66 years old.
Mack Perry soon attended college at the University of Texas in Austin, starting in 1947. It was there he met his wife, Jeanne Proctor (Wichita Falls, Texas) and they married in 1951 when he completed college, with a Bachelor of Arts degree. Following his medical career, Mack enrolled at the Southwestern School in Dallas, and graduated with his medical degree on June 6, 1955. From there he enlisted in the Air Force to begin his internship at the Letterman General Hospital, Presidio San Francisco with the rank of 1st Lieutenant. Completing his Letterman internship, Mack was transferred to Randolph Field Air Base in San Antonio, Texas where he received 9 weeks of Flight Surgeon training, promoted to rank of Captain. He then served 2 years in Spokane, Washington for the Air Force.
Perry remained in the Air Force Reserves with a Major rank and moved back to Dallas to begin his surgery residency at Parkland Hospital in approximately 1958. While on staff at Southwestern Medical School, he took a vascular surgery fellowship in 1962 at the University of California in San Francisco. Completing that fellowship, Mack Perry returned to Dallas and resumed working at Parkland Hospital in September 1963.
It was a short 2 months later; 34-year-old Dr. Perry would later endure as one of the worst weekends of his life.
1961 Parkland Hospital Surgery Staff (Dr. Perry, backrow, 3rd from right), Photo Credit: University of Texas Southwestern Medical School Archives
November 22, 1963
Assistant of Surgery Dr. Perry was eating lunch with Dr. Ronald Jones (Chief Surgery Resident) in the Parkland cafeteria when a "Stat"call came out over the P.A. for Dr. Tom Shires (Chief of Surgery). Perry who knew Dr. Shires was in Galveston, Texas presenting a paper saw Dr. Jones pick up the page phone in the cafeteria and answered. The nightmare began when the operator informed him that the President had been shot and being wheeled into Parkland. Rushing down from the 2nd floor cafeteria, they immediately entered Trauma Room 1.
Dr. James Carrico (Surgery Resident) had already began tending to the President. Because of his mortal wounds, they kept the body on the gurney to save time. Dr. Carrico had attempted to insert an endotracheal tube to assist the President with his agonal breathing, but the results were not adequate. That's when Dr. Perry stepped in and decided to perform a Tracheostomy over the small bullet hole near the Adam's Apple to assist respiration.
There were other Doctors assisting Dr. Perry as well, approximately 5-6 as well as Nurses. But it was Perry who was the calling the shots and worked feverishly to get respiration established. Also of grave concern, there was little to none pulse. Perry ordered a step stool from someone in the room and began closed heart massage by pumping his hands over the President's chest. There was no time to open the chest cavity and massage the heart manually. Dr. Kemp Clark (Chief Neurosurgeon) entered Trauma Room and examined the fatal head wound. Of course, by then, the Doctors knew it was a mortal wound and the President had "flat-lined" the heart monitor. Dr. Perry estimated they spent approximately 20 minutes until he was pronounced dead at 1:00 PM CST.
Dr. Kemp Clark in 1974, Photo Credit: University of Texas Southwestern Medical School Archives
Since the cause of death was determined to be the head trauma, it would be Dr. Kemp Clark's responsibility to sign the Death Certificate as it was characterized as a fatal Neuro wound.
Dr. Perry also assisted in the Oswald shooting operation with Dr. Tom Shires on November 24, 1963. Perry commented that they had finally stopped all the internal bleeding made by Ruby's bullet, and blood pressure had stabilized. It was then Oswald went into cardiac arrest, and his heart stopped. Attempts to restart Oswald's heart with open chest massage and electric shocks failed and Oswald was pronounced dead.
Perry took some time off following that weekend, vacationing in McAllen, Texas (Rio Grande Valley) to visit his wife's in-laws. Word got out he was down there, and newspaper reporters interviewed him.
Aftermath - Conspiracy Theorists concoct dubious stories
By numerous accounts, Dr. Perry was reluctant to revisit his tragic weekend, refusing to discuss it. However, he did a few interviews, including this one with noted columnist, Jimmy Breslin published on December 14, 1963, for the Saturday Evening Post magazine https://www.saturdayeveningpost.com/2016/12/jackie-kennedy-dallas-emergency-room/
Dr. Perry was so upset over this misrepresentation of his "frontal shot" words, he shunned many attempts of JFK assassination researchers to interview him over the years.
Revisionists Oliver Stone and James DiEugenio attempt to re-write history and claim Dr. Perry was coerced and badgered into changing his statement. They even go so far as saying he really did believe in a frontal shot to the neck. They rely on Hearsay statements of Jim Gochenaur and Dr. Donald Miller Jr. Both of these men are of questionable judgement.
See about Gochenaur here: https://www.onthetrailofdelusion.com/post/was-james-gochenaur-a-credible-witness-in-jfk-revisited
Without referring to Stone/DiEugenio's Cartoon series, JFK: Destiny Betrayed and JFK Revisited, here's a good synopsis of Dr. Miller's claim about Dr. Perry from the History News Network.
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.”
The preceding statement by Dr. Perry to Author Gerald Posner is consistent on what Perry has always maintained. Revisionists Stone and DiEugenio want to plant another mystery story using hearsay from Dr. Miller.
What about the coercion on Dr. Perry by the Secret Service to change his story?
Parkland Doctors were interviewed by Jeremy Gunn of the ARRB and here's what Dr. Perry said:
ARRB Testimony of Parkland Doctors
As you can clearly see, there was no coercion on the Parkland Doctors, including Dr. Perry.
Allegations that Secret Service Agent Elmer Moore tried to pressure Dr. Perry from Gochenaur are totally false.
Church Committe Testimony of Elmer W. Moore
Church Committe Testimony of Elmer W. Moore
Dr. Perry was an honorable man, what did he think about Conspiracy Theorists? In this letter exchange with noted French JFK Researcher Francois Carlier in 1997, he had a very low opinion of them.
Dr. Perry's last written sentences goes directly to Oliver Stone and the "vast conspiracy industrial complex" perpetrating myths upon myths.
I believe most people who have written about the event did so for the money and not to seek the truth. Can you imagine how many people would have had to agree a prior to participate in a conspiracy? That theory lacks face value and is ludicrous. We all tried our best to tell the facts and all of the facts. MP
Dr. Perry had told the truth to the best of his knowledge. His history should not be falsely misrepresented by Hucksters like Stone and DiEugenio.
1 - Fort Worth Star Telegram Newspaper, March 2, 1934
2 - Various Plano Star Newspaper articles, he played football and basketball
3 - Brownsville Herald Newspaper, March 2, 1947
4 - Wichita Daily Times Newspaper, August 26, 1951
5 - The Courier Gazette Newspaper, June 10, 1955
6 - Plano Daily Star Newspaper, July 26, 1956
7 - Plano Daily Star Newspaper, July 11, 1962.
8 - Amarillo Globe Times Newspaper, November 28, 1963