An event that shook Texas, America, and the world 51 years ago is featured in the Texas Medical Association’s (TMA’s) museum. Physicians racing to save the lives of President John F. Kennedy, Texas Gov. John Connally, and Lee Harvey Oswald at Parkland Hospital in Dallas on Nov. 22 and 24, 1963, are chronicled in the TMA display.

TMA’s History of Medicine Gallery “Bugs, Bones, and Blood” exhibit features collections from the historic event: a medical journal article reporting the reactions and impressions of physicians who treated the three victims, a photo of Parkland’s Trauma Room 1 where President Kennedy was treated, and an article written by the hospital chaplain that recounts the staff’s grief following the tragedy.

“This exhibit brings back many memories of a sad and shocking time,” said Philip T. Valente, MD, San Antonio, a member of TMA’s History of Medicine Committee, which oversees the gallery. “The depictions of the Parkland trauma rooms and the events in the hospital show an interesting perspective of this historical event.”

Perspective that includes reflection by the late Governor Connally himself: “The severity of my wounds probably would have resulted in death had there been any delay in medical treatment,” he said in a letter written to TMA’s Texas State Journal of Medicine two months after the incident. “Fortunately, a hospital such as Parkland Memorial was available, staffed with personnel trained to react swiftly to any circumstances.”

“Bugs, Bones, and Blood” examines the history of forensic medicine, in which forensic pathologists and other medical experts search for a cause when a person’s death is sudden or mysterious. The Kennedy assassination and the industrial disaster in Texas City in 1947 are among the events chronicled in the exhibit. TMA will replace this exhibit early next year with a new display.

TMA is the largest state medical society in the nation, representing more than 47,000 physician and medical student members. It is located in Austin and has 110 component county medical societies around the state. TMA’s key objective since 1853 is to improve the health of all Texans.