JFK50GT #4: Parkland
JFK GeoTrail - A
Day in Dallas
geocache is part of a 14 cache GeoTrail series. To
complete the GeoTrail, visit the website at http://www.jfk50geotrail.com and
download the Passport. You will need to take the Passport with you to each
cache and be ready to write, punch, or stamp the appropriate markings that are
hidden in each cache. Once complete, follow the instructions to receive your
Parkland Hospital Emergency Department
Parkland Hospital is the main county hospital for Dallas
County residents. It is funded largely by county property taxes. The hospital
opened in 1894, and moved to its present location in 1954. While the facility continues
growing at a rapid pace, the facade of the emergency department has not changed
a bit since President Kennedy arrived there from Dealey
Plaza. Parking on the street below and walking up the hill along the
semi-circular entrance road, visitors are greeted by the very same view that
was shown on television sets across the country on November 22, 1963.
Parkland then . . .
and Parkland now.
Other than the new lettering, the building is still easily
recognizable as it was in 1963.
Immediately after President Kennedy was shot, he was whisked
northwards up I-35. The limousine sped right past the Trade Mart, where some of
the luncheon crowd awaiting his arrival, looked on curiously as the President's
vehicle didn't pull into the entrance but quickly drove on past. While Vice
President Lyndon Johnson's driver initially drove to the hospital by a
different route to avoid the possibility of additional trouble, the President
was taken straight to Parkland where he was carried to Trauma Room 1. On the
trip, both Jackie Kennedy and the Secret Service agent in the back of the car,
noted the gruesomeness of the scene, and that the President could only lay limp
in the back seat with his eyes wide open. The famous video footage of Jackie
climbing back onto the trunk right after the final shot while still on Elm
Street, documents the bizarre vision of her retrieving a large portion of the
President's skull. As horrible as this was, she gave this and some contiguous
matter to the doctors as soon as they arrived to the hospital.
The press cars speed out of Dealey
Plaza to catch up with the Presidential limousine as it speeds towards
Upon reaching Parkland, the President had essentially bled
out from his head wound. He had no blood pressure upon arrival. Other than
brain stem mediated agonal repiratory
sounds, and a single instance where a doctor believed that he found a pulse in
one leg, the President had no signs of life upon arrival. With the severity of
his injuries, saving his life was not possible, even with today's medical
Although there are separate definitions for clinical death,
legal death, and religious death, President Kennedy was unconscious as soon as
the bullet hit him in the head, such that he never knew he had been hit, and
for all practical purposes, was no longer living long before reaching Parkland.
The nation was fixed to their television sets and transistor radios waiting for
word of President Kennedy's condition from the moment they found out that he
had been shot. While the gunfire occurred around 12:30, it took until 1pm until
he reached Parkland and resuscitative efforts were abandoned and he was
pronounced dead. The news media waited until this announcement to tell the
nation. Even though several eyewitnesses very close to the limousine during the
gunfire described catastrophic injuries to the President, the news media and
the nation was still stunned at the announcement. The President was dead.
Walter Cronkite has trouble putting words together to tell
the nation that their President was dead. Words didn't seem enough.
Jackie Kennedy left Parkland in a hearse. After landing in
Washington, D.C., as pictured here, she is headed for yet another. Notice that
she is still wearing the same pink dress and hose from earlier in the day. She
is covered in blood, having only washed her hands and face after the horror.
She said at Parkland, "look what they did to my Jack."
Trauma room one, where President Kennedy was treated, no
longer exists due to renovations within the building, but a plaque inside the
emergency radiology waiting area commemorates the event. This area is not open
to the general public, but only to patients and their families.
Texas Governor John Connelly was evaluated and treated in
Trauma Room 2, until he was then transported to the operating suites for
surgery. His condition was not updated until the following morning. Upon Vice
President Johnson's arrival to Parkland to check on the President after the
shooting, he was so ashen and shaken that several news reporters reported that
he may have suffered a heart attack after being in the line of fire. This was
soon proven to be false.
Two days after President Kennedy came to Parkland, Lee
Harvey Oswald was admitted through the very same doors, where he died in surgery
after Jack Ruby shot him in the abdomen. Two years later still serving time in
prison awaiting a re-trial, Jack Ruby died in Parkland's Emergency Department
from complications resulting from lung cancer.