Testimony Of Dr. Fouad A. Bashour

The testimony of Dr. Fouad A. Bashour was taken at 1:15 p.m., on March 25, 1964, at Parkland Memorial Hospital, Dallas, Tex., by Mr. Arlen Specter, assistant counsel of the President's Commission.

Mr. SPECTER - May the record show that Dr. Fouad Bashour has appeared pursuant to a letter of request from the President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy, in connection with the Commission's inquiry into all of the factors surrounding the assassination of the President, including medical treatment received at Parkland Hospital, and Dr. Bashour's knowledge, if any, as related to the treatment in the emergency room.
With that preliminary statement of purpose, Dr. Bashour, would you mind rising and then raise your right hand?
Do you solemnly swear that the testimony you give before the President's Commission in this deposition proceeding will be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?
Dr. BASHOUR - I do.
Mr. SPECTER - Would you state your full name for the record, please?
Dr. BASHOUR - F-o-u-a-d (spelling), Fouad A. Bashour.
Mr. SPECTER - What is your profession, sir?
Dr. BASHOUR - I am an internist with a specialization in cardiology. I am associate professor of medicine.
Mr. SPECTER - Are you duly licensed by the State of Texas to practice medicine here?
Dr. BASHOUR - Yes.
Mr. SPECTER - And are you board certified at the present time?
Dr. BASHOUR - No, sir; I don't have my board because I am not yet a citizen. I will be taking my citizenship this year, I hope, and then I will be able to sit for the board.
Mr. SPECTER - Did you have occasion to assist in the treatment of President Kennedy back on November 22, 1963?
Dr. BASHOUR - Yes; we were called from the dining room, the doctors' dining room, and we went directly to the President Kennedy room.
Mr. SPECTER - When you say "we" whom do you mean by that?
Dr. BASHOUR - Dr. Seldin and myself--we left the dining room and went right straight down to the President's room.
Mr. SPECTER - And what is Dr. Seldin's first name?
Dr. BASHOUR - Donald.
Mr. SPECTER - And what is his specialty, if any?
Dr. BASHOUR - He's chairman of the department of medicine and professor of medicine. He is a specialist and a recognized famous specialist in renal diseases.
Mr. SPECTER - And what, in lay language, does that facet of medicine involve?
Dr. BASHOUR - Kidney diseases.
Mr. SPECTER - Did Dr. Seldin accompany you into the emergency room where President Kennedy was located?
Dr. BASHOUR - We went to the room together and then I was left alone because this is a problem--a heart problem.
Mr. SPECTER - Did Dr. Seldin remain in the room with you?
Dr. BASHOUR - Well, he came and stayed for--he just left the room after we came in.
Mr. SPECTER - How long did he stay in the room?
Dr. BASHOUR - A few seconds.
Mr. SPECTER - Who was present in the room when you arrived?
Dr. BASHOUR - When I arrived, Dr. Kemp Clark was doing the cardiac massage on the President, Dr. Jenkins was in charge of controlling artificial respiration of the President, and the probably there were some three or four--I don't remember.
Mr. SPECTER - And what did you observe the President's condition to be at the time you arrived?
Dr. BASHOUR - The President was lying on the stretcher, the head wound was massive, the blood was dripping from the head, and at that time the President had an endotracheal tube, and his pupils were dilated, his eyes were staring, and they were not reactive, there was no pulsations, his heart sounds were not present, and his extremities were cold.
Then, we attached the scope--the cardioscope and there was a flip, this was probably artificial. Upon stopping the cardiac machine, there was no cardiac activity. That means the heart was standing still. We continued cardiac massage and still there was no cardiac activities, so the President was declared dead shortly thereafter.
Mr. SPECTER - At approximately what time was he declared dead?
Dr. BASHOUR - Well, according to my notes, we said here, "Declared dead about 12:55," or so.
Mr. SPECTER - Was that a precise time fixed or was that just a general approximation?
Dr. BASHOUR - No, sir; approximation.
Mr. SPECTER - When you refer to the "flip" what do you mean by that, Dr. Bashour?
Dr. BASHOUR - On the scope some change in the baseline of the scope.
Mr. SPECTER - Did that indicate some activity in the President's heart?
Dr. BASHOUR - No sir; not necessarily.
Mr. SPECTER - What else could have accounted for the flip besides that?
Dr. BASHOUR - Anything extraneous could have accounted for that.
Mr. SPECTER - So, you require a number of flips before you inquire if there is heart activity?
Dr. BASHOUR - Well, it depends on the configuration of the flip--if the flip resembles an electrocardiogram activity--it shows cardiac activity.
Mr. SPECTER - Was that configuration of the flip like heart activity or not?
Dr. BASHOUR - It wasn't, as far as I know.
Mr. SPECTER - That is your field, is it not, you read those flips?
Dr. BASHOUR - Well, it's my field to see the electrocardiograms; yes.
Mr. SPECTER - And, in your professional opinion, the flip which you saw was not a conclusive indicator of heart activity?
Dr. BASHOUR - As a matter of fact, when he removed his hand, there was nothing.
Mr. SPECTER - And who is "he"?
Dr. BASHOUR - Dr. Clark, who was doing the cardiac massage.
Mr. SPECTER - What else was done to the President, if anything, in addition to those things you have already mentioned after you arrived on the scene?
Dr. BASHOUR - Really, as far as I know, it was the end of the scene--nothing was done afterward.
Mr. SPECTER - Did you observe any wound besides the head wound which you have just described?
Dr. BASHOUR - No; I did not observe any wounds.
Mr. SPECTER - What was the condition of the front part of the President's neck upon your arrival?
Dr. BASHOUR - The only thing--it was covered with the endotracheal tube---I did not really pay attention to it.
Mr. SPECTER - Did you have an opportunity to see the neck wound before the tracheotomy was performed?
Dr. BASHOUR - No; I came after everything was done to him.
Mr. SPECTER - Doctor, I show you a group of papers heretofore marked as "Commission Exhibit No. 392," and I call your attention to the photostatic copy of a sheet which purports to be a report made by you on November 22, 1963, at 4:45 p.m., is that your report?
Dr. BASHOUR - Yes.
Mr. SPECTER - And is that in fact your signature?
Dr. BASHOUR - Yes.
Mr. SPECTER - And are the facts set forth therein the essence of what you observed and what you know about this matter?
Dr. BASHOUR - Yes.
Mr. SPECTER - Have you talked to anyone from the Federal Government prior to today about your treatment of President Kennedy?
Dr. BASHOUR - There was a security officer or something called me on the phone one day and said did I write any note besides this note on the chart, and I said, "No." I don't know his name even.
Mr. SPECTER - What note was he referring to?
Dr. BASHOUR - This note here.
Mr. SPECTER - He asked you if you wrote what?
Dr. BASHOUR - Other notes than this.
Mr. SPECTER - If you had any other notes?
Dr. BASHOUR - Yes.
Mr. SPECTER - And do you have any other notes other than the one I have just shown you?
Mr. SPECTER - Did the Secret Service agent ask you anything else other than that?
Mr. SPECTER - And did you talk to any other representative of the Federal Government on any occasion prior to today?
Dr. BASHOUR - No, sir.
Mr. SPECTER - And, did you and I talk for a few minutes about the type of questions I would be asking you during this deposition?
Dr. BASHOUR - Yes.
Mr. SPECTER - And is the information which you have given me on the record here and written down by the court reporter the same as you told me before she arrived?
Dr. BASHOUR - Yes.
Mr. SPECTER - And, will you give me just an outline of your educational background, Doctor?
Dr. BASHOUR - I got my baccalaureate from French Government in 1941--first part. I got my second part, baccalaureate in mathematics and science in 1942, I got my B.A. degree in 1944 from the American University of Beirut, my M.D. degree in 1949, and my Ph.D. in 1957 from the University of Minnesota. I came back to this country in 1959 from the American University of Beirut, as an instructor, and from 1959 to 1963 I jumped from instructor to assistant professor to associate professor in February 1963.
Mr. SPECTER - Do you have anything to add which you think will be helpful in any way to the President's Commission?
Dr. BASHOUR - No, sir.
Mr. SPECTER - Thank you very much for coming, Dr. Bashour.
Dr. BASHOUR - Thank you very much.