Journal Logo


The Assassination of John F. Kennedy

Revisiting the Medical Data

Mantik, David W. M.D., Ph.D.

Author Information
Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery: January 2015 - Volume 135 - Issue 1 - p 232e-233e
doi: 10.1097/PRS.0000000000000812
  • Free


The November 2013 article by Rohrich et al. entitled “The Assassination of John F. Kennedy: Revisiting the Medical Data” (Plast Reconstr Surg. 2013;132:1340–1350) summarizes the medical evidence through 1992, including the House Select Committee on Assassinations (1979). My response here emphasizes recent developments.

From 1994 to 1998, the Assassination Records Review Board liberated 60,000 JFK records and released deposition transcripts of medical personnel from Bethesda and Parkland. I interviewed the autopsy radiologist twice1 and visited the National Archives and Records Administration on 9 separate days,2 initially in 1992 with Dr. Cyril Wecht. I have performed hundreds of optical density measurements directly on the extant JFK skull radiographs and have often viewed the extant autopsy photographs at the National Archives and Records Administration. I have interviewed the Bethesda paraprofessionals; I also participated in a long video interview with them in 2002 in Fort Myers, Florida. In November of 2013, I encountered James Jenkins in Dallas, Texas. I have repeatedly read (and listened to) all of the medical depositions for the House Select Committee on Assassinations and the Assassination Records Review Board. Here is a brief summary of what we have learned.

  1. Ronald C. Jones, M.D., has just confirmed a superior location for the throat wound: “I noticed a small wound in the midline of the neck just above the tie knot that was approximately a quarter of an inch or 6 mm in diameter.”3 If Jones is correct, the single bullet theory—a sine qua non for the lone gunman—is dead.
  2. The camera lens located by the House Select Committee on Assassinations does not match the extant autopsy photographs.
  3. Optical density data from the extant JFK radiographs (taken at the National Archives and Records Administration) strongly imply that the 6.5-mm metallic-like object within JFK’s right orbit is an artifact. Larry Sturdivan, the ballistics expert who consulted for the House Select Committee on Assassinations, agrees that it cannot represent a bullet fragment.4 This striking state of affairs, by itself, delivers a crippling blow to a central pillar of the Warren Commission and the House Select Committee on Assassinations.
  4. Although the House Select Committee on Assassinations concluded that this 6.5-mm object represented the cross-section of a bullet, officially both the nose and tail of this same bullet were found inside the limousine.
  5. The Assassination Records Review Board specifically asked each of the three pathologists if they had seen this 6.5-mm object on the radiographs during the autopsy. None of them had.
  6. The optical density (as measured at the National Archives and Records Administration) of a posterior whitish area on both lateral skull radiographs matches the optical density of the petrous bone (the densest bone in the body), which is grossly unlike any other skull radiograph in my experience. Furthermore, this area is nothing like the same area in a premortem radiograph of JFK.
  7. Optical density data (taken at the National Archives and Records Administration) from the lateral radiographs show absent frontal brain in a fist-sized area. On the contrary, the autopsy photographs, for this same area, show an entirely intact left brain and a nearly intact right brain. This is a flagrant paradox—either the photographs are inauthentic or the radiographs are inauthentic. Both cannot simultaneously reflect physical reality.
  8. The photographer, John Stringer, denies taking the extant brain photographs.5


The author has no financial interest to declare in relation to the content of this communication.

David W. Mantik, M.D., Ph.D.

513 Desert West Drive

Rancho Mirage, Calif. 92290

[email protected]


1. Fetzer J Murder in Dealey Plaza: What We Know Now That We Didn’t Know Then About the Death of JFK. 2000 Chicago Catfeet Press:433–439
2. Mantik DW The JFK autopsy materials: Twenty conclusions after nine visits. Available at:
3. Jones RC. The President’s been shot and they are bringing him to the emergency room J Am Coll Surg. 2014;218:856–868
4. Sturdivan LM The JFK Myths: A Scientific Investigation of the Kennedy Assassination. 2005 St. Paul, Minn Paragon Press:193
5. Horne DP Inside the Assassination Records Review Board: The U.S. Government's Final Attempt to Reconcile the Conflicting Medical Evidence in the Assassination of JFK.. 2009 Falls Church, Va D. P. Horne:783


Letters to the Editor, discussing material recently published in the Journal, are welcome. They will have the best chance of acceptance if they are received within 8 weeks of an article’s publication. Letters to the Editor may be published with a response from the authors of the article being discussed. Discussions beyond the initial letter and response will not be published. Letters submitted pertaining to published Discussions of articles will not be printed. Letters to the Editor are not usually peer reviewed, but the Journal may invite replies from the authors of the original publication. All Letters are published at the discretion of the Editor.

Letters submitted should pose a specific question that clarifies a point that either was not made in the article or was unclear, and therefore a response from the corresponding author of the article is requested.

Authors will be listed in the order in which they appear in the submission. Letters should be submitted electronically via PRS’ enkwell, at

We reserve the right to edit Letters to meet requirements of space and format. Any financial interests relevant to the content of the correspondence must be disclosed. Submission of a Letter constitutes permission for the American Society of Plastic Surgeons and its licensees and asignees to publish it in the Journal and in any other form or medium.

The views, opinions, and conclusions expressed in the Letters to the Editor represent the personal opinions of the individual writers and not those of the publisher, the Editorial Board, or the sponsors of the Journal. Any stated views, opinions, and conclusions do not reflect the policy of any of the sponsoring organizations or of the institutions with which the writer is affiliated, and the publisher, the Editorial Board, and the sponsoring organizations assume no responsibility for the content of such correspondence.

The Journal requests that individuals submit no more than five (5) letters to Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery in a calendar year.

©2015American Society of Plastic Surgeons