Skip to comments.Kerry Has Shrapnel in Thigh From Vietnam
Posted on 08/19/2004 9:20:29 AM PDT by Shermy
(From April 2004)
WASHINGTON - John Kerry has a piece of shrapnel in his left thigh from an injury he suffered in the Vietnam War, his doctor said Friday during a review of 36 pages of the Democratic presidential candidate's military medical records.
The records shown briefly to reporters provided a few more details about the wounds that resulted in Kerry's three Purple Hearts and show that he suffered from respiratory ailments, a skin rash and a minor urinary tract infection during his four years in the Navy.
Kerry was wounded three times while commanding a swiftboat in Vietnam's Mekong Delta, an assignment that brought him close to enemy fire several times.
Some of Kerry's critics have questioned whether his injuries were serious enough to warrant three Purple Hearts and reassignment out of Vietnam. Kerry's doctor, Gerald Doyle, said he could not characterize the severity of the wounds since he didn't see them, but he noted that Kerry was in danger of serious injury several times.
Kerry got his first Purple Heart after he got shrapnel in his left arm above his elbow. Doyle said if the shrapnel had hit Kerry in the eye, it could have blinded him.
And Doyle said Kerry's third Purple Heart came from a dangerous situation on March 13, 1969, that could have been life-threatening. A mine had exploded near Kerry's swiftboat and enemy snipers were shooting around his boat.
According to notes from a military doctor who treated Kerry three hours later, Kerry was thrown against the bulkhead, resulting in contusions on his right forearm. A small piece of shrapnel was lodged in his left upper buttock. He was treated with a tetanus shot, topical dressing and an ace bandage and advised to apply warm soaks to his right forearm.
Kerry also was wounded by a piece of shrapnel on Feb. 20, 1969, this time on his left thigh. Doctors decided to leave the shrapnel in place rather than make a wider opening to remove it. Doctors removed damaged tissue and the entry wound was closed with sutures, and no infection developed around the shrapnel, according to the records.
Kerry jokingly told reporters aboard his campaign plane that the shrapnel hurts when it rains. He said tht although it was hot and burned at the time, he doesn't feel it now.
Kerry was diagnosed with pneumonia in September 1966 and had an upper respiratory infection and bronchitis during his time in the military. The records also show Kerry had pneumonia in 1965 before his enlistment. Doyle said Kerry has hay fever and allergies to pollen and mold and is probably predisposed to pneumonia. Doyle said Kerry had pneumonia at least once since his time in Vietnam, but he usually recovers quickly from respiratory ailments because his immune system is healthy.
Kerry spokesman Michael Meehan interrupted Doyle to ask that he only comment on Kerry's medical records in the military, noting that the doctor had already issued a letter outlining Kerry's health during the 18 years that he has treated the senator.
Doyle said the skin rash on Kerry's chest, arms and legs in 1967 was probably an inflammation of hair follicles from the warm weather in San Diego, where he trained before going to Vietnam. It was treated with a steroid cream.
Two days after Kerry was treated for the rash, doctors noted that Kerry reported coughing and other symptoms and requested a chest X-ray. "This is a very aggressive patient," the medical notes say. Doyle said he couldn't know what that meant, but speculated Kerry might have insisted on getting the X-ray since he had pneumonia a few months earlier.
This week the campaign has posted on its Web site more than 200 pages of information about Kerry's military record. The campaign said when the Navy sent Kerry his military file, it did not include his medical records, and those shown to reporters Friday were copies that Kerry had in his personal files.
The Kerry campaign allowed 19 reporters who travel with Kerry to talk to his doctor and view the medical file for about 30 minutes. Reporters had to sign the file in and out and were not allowed to take a copy.
Kerry spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter noted that the 30-minute review was 10 minutes longer than reporters had with President Bush's military medical files. She said the campaign will not release the record to the public because "we don't consider this information to be public in the first place."
Also on Friday, Kerry announced a "Contract with America's Middle Class" during a speech to the American Society of Newspaper Editors. The contract was a compilation of ideas that Kerry has been touting on the campaign trail - a new plan to win the war, create 10 million jobs, cut middle class taxes and streamline government.
Kerry also had a private meeting with Zbigniew Brzezinski, national security adviser to former President Carter, at Kerry's home in Georgetown.
Does he still have the rice in his butt?
This is the wire report that came out in April - of a doctor summarizing the medical reports.
"Shrapnel" left inside him didn't cause him to miss a day of action?
Thigh? Maybe he means "brain".
Whoa, you mean John Kerry was in Vietnam?
What the hell kind of dumbassed statement is that?
Everybody who was over there qualified for a medal, given that criteria.
Heck, I deserve a medal for braving Minneapolis traffic every day.
It must have caused pain to push it in deep.
Well, he mentioned it once at the very beginning of the primary season.
So do I. Can I be President?
I have a piece of rock in my knee from when I fell on a cinder track when I was in grade school.
If you look real hard, you can still see the black piece under the skin.
I didn't miss any school for the injury and was not awarded a medal for bravery.
I'd rather not see the evidence.
I have heard a couple of times that "non-specific urinary tract infection" in military reports generally means the clap.
(Just going on hearsay - I could be wrong.)
The CLAP! Kerry had the CLAP! Must be from all those civilians he raped.
You beat me to it! LOL! Rice in the butt! LOL!
My dad had shrapnel in both legs...he wasn't fit to be a president either.
OOOHHHHHH.....NOOOOOOOOOOOO.....STAY away from us, you elitist A**......But, first, tell us, what is the income (and assets, i.e. net worth) of an average Middle Class family?
Man I am exhausted trying to sort out what is truth and what is JFKerry's "truth".
Doyle said if the shrapnel had hit Kerry in the eye, it could have blinded him.
And if it had hit him in the testicles ...............
Sorry, stupid statement in the article.