Surgeon who attended JFK after assassination shares memories

DALLAS, TX (KLTV) - Fifty years ago on Friday, Texas became forever linked to a presidential tragedy. Right now, the city of Dallas is preparing to honor the life and memory of President John F. Kennedy, whose life was ended by an assassin's bullet on a Dallas street.

At 11:45 on Friday morning, throngs of people will be in Dallas to attend the ceremony which will honor President Kennedy. On Thursday night, the streets are already crowded with people sharing their memories of the 1963 assassination, including the then-chief of surgery at Parkland Hospital.

He vividly remembers the moments following the shooting.

"When I walked into trauma room one, Mrs. Kennedy was there on the left," Dr. Ron Jones remembers.

Though fifty years have passed, Dr. Jones clearly remembers November 22, 1963, the day the commander-in-chief was wheeled through his trauma room doors.

"I noticed a small wound in the midline of the neck, just above the knot of the tie. The president was not moving," he said.

Jones was chief of surgery, and describes the trauma room that day as "organized chaos."

"Things went as we would have taken care of any other patient. It just happened that it was the president, so it puts pressure on you at that point," he added.

He recalls the tense moments leading up to his hospital delivering devastating news to the First Lady, and to the nation.

"I think in actuality, in a very short period of time...within ten minutes ... we were sure he was dead," Dr. Jones said.

From his death came a whole new way for hospitals to respond to the worst. Jones said communication improved and hospitals were more prepared than before.

"The things that we implemented, number one was a disaster drill, so in the event of a major disaster, multiple casualties ... we had a system set up."

It was a system that improved trauma care and communication in the years that followed the assassination that changed our country in more ways than we may ever know.

"There were a lot of things put into place that were directly or indirectly connected to the assassination," Jones added.

Jones said that doctors working alongside him today feel like Kennedy might have survived had he only suffered the gunshot wound to the neck; however, he said the combination of two shots was just too much to take.

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