A clinical examination of his injuries and neurosurgical care — Scie…


This month marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Senator Robert F. Kennedy. Struck by bullets on June 5, 1968, adhering to his victory speech at the California Democratic Get together presidential most important, Kennedy died of extreme brain injury on the next working day, June 6.

Though considerably has been penned about RFK’s assassination — some documented and some speculative — to date there has been no in-depth healthcare dialogue of Kennedy’s accidents and remedy. A new article posted today in the Journal of Neurosurgery addresses this issue: “The assassination of Robert F. Kennedy: an analysis of the senator’s accidents and neurosurgical care,” by Jordan M. Komisarow, MD, Theodore Pappas, MD, Megan Llewellyn, MSMI, and Shivanand P. Lad, MD, PhD, from Duke University College of Medicine.

In this write-up, the authors “evaluate the eyewitness experiences of the system of injuries, the treatment rendered for 3 several hours prior to the crisis craniotomy, the scientific system, and, finally, the autopsy.” The dialogue of autopsy findings is supplemented by an artist’s depiction of the extent of Senator Kennedy’s head personal injury.

Komisarow and colleagues supply a extensive overview of medical functions from the time of the shooting right until Kennedy’s demise. They also explore dissimilarities and similarities amongst 1968 and 2018 in the care of clients with gunshot wounds to the head.

Quickly pursuing the shooting, numerous medical professionals converged at the scene to render aid. There was a delay of about 45 minutes in transporting Senator Kennedy to the healthcare facility greatest outfitted to take care of his serious wounds, owing to a transport protocol in put at the time. Diagnostic checks that are commonplace today, this sort of as computed tomography (CT) and CT angiography and venography, have been not accessible. The surgical technique performed in 1968, a craniotomy, even so, was very similar to what would be carried out right now. Some postoperative checking tactics and chosen drugs have adjusted over the years.

Primarily based on their examination of health care records and testimony, Komisarow and colleagues consider that the steps taken by physicians to care for Senator Kennedy in 1968 ended up in maintaining with the conventional health care methods of the day. An aggressive attempt was created to help save him, but the result, supplied his major head damage, was not unforeseen.

Kennedy experienced “extensive injury to the ideal cerebellum and appropriate occipital cortex.” There was hurt to the brainstem and evidence of epidural, subdural, and subarachnoid hemorrhage. Bone and bullet fragments were being embedded in tissue throughout the brain. The authors level out that penetrating gunshot wounds to the head this sort of as Kennedy’s are associated with a high mortality price — 1 that has not improved substantially in the last 100 several years, given that the time of Harvey Cushing’s observations on penetrating head trauma done in 1918.

When questioned regardless of whether Kennedy could have survived if he have been to be dealt with applying 2018 professional medical techniques, Dr. Komisarow responded, “By all accounts an aggressive and valiant hard work was manufactured to help save the senator’s daily life. However, a very similar harm would probably also be fatal, or seriously debilitating, in 2018.”

Dr. Lad extra, “Irrespective of many developments in imaging, anesthesia, and surgical approach over the last 50 decades, injury to the brainstem and its connected blood vessels carries on to be a devastating and catastrophic injury.”

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Resources delivered by Journal of Neurosurgery Publishing Group. Be aware: Information could be edited for model and duration.



A professional medical analysis of his injuries and neurosurgical care — Scie…