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Charles Baxter; Texas Doctor Tried to Save JFK's Life

Associated Press
Sunday, March 13, 2005; Page C11

Charles R. Baxter, 75, one of the doctors who tried to save President John F. Kennedy after he was shot in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963, died March 10 at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, where he had been a professor emeritus of surgery since 1993. He had pneumonia.

Dr. Baxter was a 34-year-old assistant professor at the Dallas medical school and director of the emergency room at Parkland Memorial Hospital when Kennedy was brought to the hospital.

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Dr. Baxter and his colleagues tried to stabilize Kennedy, working to stop the bleeding and make it possible for him to breathe.

"As soon as we realized we had nothing medical to do, we all backed off from the man with a reverence that one has for one's president," Dr. Baxter said in 1988. "And we did not continue to be doctors from that point on. We became citizens again, and there were probably more tears shed in that room than in the surrounding hundred miles."

Dr. Baxter then performed surgery on Texas Gov. John Connally, who was seriously wounded in the attack.

Dr. Baxter was a native of Paris, Tex., and was a 1950 graduate of the University of Texas. He received a medical degree from what is now the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas in 1954.

Dr. Baxter developed a formula for burn patients, referred to as the Baxter Burn Formula or the Parkland Burn Formula. He discovered that patients with large, severe burns need tremendous amounts of fluid the first day of treatment, especially during the first eight hours.

Dr. Baxter also founded a tissue bank at Parkland Hospital to provide skin grafts for burn patients.

Survivors include his wife, Jo Ann Lee Baxter of Irving; three sons; and 10 grandchildren.

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