President Reagan suffered more complications after he was shot March 30 than his doctors revealed at the time, according to an article in the current Washingtonian magazine.
His post-operative X-rays showed a collapsed lower lobe in his injured lung and a low oxygen level in his blood, evidence of lung impairment, said writer John Pekkanen.
The oxygen level soon improved and by the next afternoon the collapsed lung had fully expanded. But, the article said, the oxygen level later dropped again, and for several days Reagan had what some of those caring for him called a "worrisome" fever and chills, as well as some fluid in his lungs.
Five days after the shooting, the article continued, the president began coughing up bright red, fresh blood in what his chief surgeon, Dr. Benjamin Aaron, remembered as "an ominous series of events." By the 10th day after the shooting, Reagan's temperature reportedly was normal and he was close to recovery.
That account is accurate, Aaron said yesterday, but the president's course "was not anything unusual" after a gunshot wound. In calling Reagan's condition "ominous," Aaron said: "I meant he could have been heading into trouble, but he did not. Nothing untoward happened, and he got well."