January 23, 1967

The Kennedy Autopsy

Author Affiliations

Racine, Wis

JAMA. 1967;199(4):283. doi:10.1001/jama.1967.03120040093032

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To the Editor:—  Under the WASHINGTON NEWS, The Journal reports, "Photographs and x-rays of the autopsy on the body of President Kennedy were turned over to the National Archives by his family" (198, Nov 21, 1966, adv p 36). This confirms numerous other reports which have recently appeared in the lay press.The original data, namely photographs and x-rays taken at the autopsy, were not in the hands of the government, but were in some manner given to the Kennedy family. This point demands clarification. Autopsy protocol, slides, tissues, documents, photographs, and x-rays, are by common understanding, the property of the hospital where the autopsy was completed. How, then, did the photographs and x-rays ever leave the files of the Bethesda Naval Medical Center?It is assumed that autopsy findings are always made available to the family upon request, and to those who have legal access to such findings. What