Thursday, May 13, 2010
Ronald Reagan Fact #17
Ronald Reagan was shot at 2:25 p.m. on March 30, 1981 as he was leaving the Washington Hilton after addressing a conference of the AFL-CIO's Building Construction Trades Department.
In the limo, after being pushed by Secret Service agent, Ray Shaddick, Reagan coughed up blood and said,
"I think I've cut my mouth."
At 2:35 p.m., the limo reached George Washington University hospital and Reagan was in pain and had trouble breathing. But he was able to stand and tell an agent, "I'll walk in."
Ronald Reagan walked 40 feet into the hospital doors and then sagged to the floor.
Nurses rushed him to the ER and scrambled to cut off the president's clothes. Reagan's mouth and feet were covered in blood as he gasped, "I can't breathe," and then went unconscious.
His systolic blood pressure was at 78 and his normal reading was 140--the tube inserted by doctors to help him breathe caused the president to pass out.
Doctor's identified a collapsed left lung because Reagan had coughed up frothy, red blood, and inserted a catheter to drain the blood that was flooding his lung.
The president came to while a nurse, Marisa Mize, was holding his hand.
"Who's holding my hand?" he asked.
"Does Nancy know about us?"
Nancy Reagan had been having lunch at the White House and arrived at the hospital in ten minutes.
"Honey," he said, "I forgot to duck."
President Ronald Reagan almost bled to death because he was shot from behind and under the left arm pit--the back of his heart-- by a 25-year-old gunman, John Hinckley, Jr.
The bullet had ricocheted off the bulletproof Presidential limo and then hit one of Reagan's ribs and then was redirected. The bullet was meant to explode in his body, but fate had changed the bullet into a flattened dime like object that landed one inch from his heart.
Ronald Reagan had lost almost half of his blood and was dying in GW's emergency room and as Senior surgeon Benjamin Aaron, chief of thoracic surgery, drew the bullet out of his chest,
the president said, "I hope you're a Republican."
Joseph Giordano, chief of GW's trauma unit, was not. He said,
"Mr. President, we're all Republicans today."