Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Doctors Disagree On Origin Of Representative's Wounds

Tucson - Specialists called in to treat U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords' gunshot wounds to her head disagree with emergency trauma specialists who first treated her Saturday following the shooting on the origin and direction of the bullets that caused a through and through wound to one hemisphere of her brain.

They think the bullets that struck her came from the front of her head and exited in the rear, and not from the rear of her skull.

Eyewitnesses said the gunman strolled up to within only a few feet of Rep. Giffords and opened fire from her rear.

The confusion is likely to have ramifications in subsequent investigations and shooting reports, as well as the testimony of expert witnesses called before Congressional committees to help determine exactly what happened to her and 18 other victims outside a Safeway Supermarket in her hometown as she held a citizen forum for her constituents.

Survivors of the Kennedy assassination in Dallas in November, 1963, will remember the ongoing controversy that lasted for many years as to the origin of the gunshots and the number of bullets involved in the killing of the President.

Autopsy surgeons at Bethesda Naval Hospital were puzzled as to the entry and exit points of the wounds to the President's head, mistaking the emergency incision made to the victim's throat to help him breathe for a gunshot wound that was caused by a rifleman situated to his front. Emergency trauma surgeons in Dallas had a different opinion. They felt all along he was shot from the rear.

The differing opinion of the Navy surgeons was bolstered by numerous eyewitnesses who pointed to the fence behind the “grassy knoll” upon which the pergola is perched near the triple underpass. They all pointed in the direction the motorcade had been traveling – to the President's front.

Dallas County Medical Examiner's staff were not allowed to conduct the autopsy there because federal officials ordered his body to be flown to Washington immediately.

It all generated bitter controversy in the investigation of the murder and the subsequent legislative remedies enacted to try to prevent gun violence, including a ban on interstate mail order sales of firearms.

A “blue dog” Democrat, Rep. Giffords, D-08, was considered an anomaly in this conservative Arizona Congressional District on the Mexican border.

A graduate of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, she was a Cornell graduate and a former Republican who ran her family's automotive tire distributorship for a time.

Her original government service was seen in the Arizona Legislature.

She is slowly recovering from her critical wounds and has been taken off the breathing machine. She has been able to respond to questions by squeezing the doctors' hands. Attending physicians feel that is a sure sign she will survive her wounds.

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