Home
In this issue

Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review June 10, 2004 / 21 Sivan, 5764

In Reagan's hospital room

By Dr. William A. Knaus


Printer Friendly Version

Email this article

http://www.jewishworldreview.com | "I just cannot understand how, after someone has been shot, they are able to get up and keep fighting," President Ronald Reagan said to me about battlefield heroes. " I just don't understand it."

It was Tuesday afternoon, March 31, 1981, and the president was in the intensive-care unit at George Washington University Hospital in Washington, where I was the attending physician.

About 24 hours earlier, a shot fired at Reagan outside the Washington Hilton by John Hinckley had penetrated the president's left chest and stopped an inch away from his heart and aorta.

When Reagan arrived at the emergency room of GW Hospital at 2:35 p.m., he collapsed. At 3:24 p.m., he was taken into surgery, and by the time the surgery ended more than three hours later, after an exhaustive and eventually successful search for the bullet, more than 3 liters of blood - 50 percent of his total blood volume - had been replaced.

The story of the shooting; the controversial, but life-saving decision to take Reagan immediately to the hospital versus back to the security of the White House; the intense minute-by-minute reporting of his medical condition in the operating and recovery rooms; and his joking with the surgeons have often been told.

Less well known are the hours immediately after the president's surgery, when he had recovered sufficiently from the anesthesia to realize what had happened and how close he had come to dying.

The president was brought to the ICU at 6 a.m. Tuesday, after spending the night in the recovery room. He was being given nasal oxygen, deep-breathing exercises and chest physiotherapy to prevent parts of his lung from collapsing.

When I walked into his room, he was propped up in bed and brushing his teeth. He looked like he was in a movie - one starring himself. He was smiling and told me he felt "great." One of the nurses, Carolyn Frances, was combing his hair and seemed to be closely examining his scalp.

"Don't worry," he joked. "There are no gray roots, at least not until today!"

I knew from treating other trauma victims that immediately following a life-threatening situation, the victim can be euphoric and happy to be alive. But working with the president that day, I saw something else, the quality that made him one of our most popular presidents: a man who charmed supporters and opponents alike.

The French have a phrase for people like Reagan. They say such people are "comfortable in their skin."

Donate to JWR


Sitting up in the hospital bed that day in a room whose visitors were limited to myself, one or two nurses, his wife, Nancy, and a Secret Service agent, the president had no need to engage with those of us who were his caregivers, but he clearly wanted to make everyone around him as comfortable in their roles as he was in his.

He told us a story of how he had once fallen off a horse and hurt his ribs, but the pain was nothing like what he was then experiencing in the hospital as we turned him, vibrated his chest and forced him to cough and breath deeply.

He also recalled meeting a white-haired World World II veteran who had crawled for half a mile with his wounded comrade on his back after both men had been seriously injured. Reagan had asked the soldier how he had done it, and when the man made no reply, he told him he could see the strength in his eyes.

That evening, when the pain and the exercises had taken their toll, Nancy Reagan brought a minister and his wife whose names I never learned into the room to pray with the president. The lights were low. Mrs. Reagan sat on the bed close to her husband, and the four of them joined hands in an intimate circle. The minister began by saying that at no time in history had more people been praying for the health and recovery of one man.

Standing at a respectful distance, I looked over at the president - head bowed, eyes closed - and realized it was true. Regardless of one's political views, this man had captivated millions by sharing his love of life and sense of purpose with the world.

Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in Washington and in the media consider "must reading." Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.




Dr. William A. Knaus is professor and chairman of the Department of Health Evaluation Sciences at the University of Virginia. Comment by clicking here.

© 2004, Dr. William A. Knaus Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Information Services