Dr. Robert Grossman, Houston neurosurgeon who examined assassinated Pres. Kennedy, dies at 88

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Friday, October 8, 2021
ABC13 archive film of Kennedy in Houston, the night before his assissination
ABC13 archive film of Kennedy in Houston, the night before his assissination

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A world-renowned Houston doctor, who has been known in history as one of the physicians who examined President John F. Kennedy after he was assassinated in Dallas, has died.

Dr. Robert Grossman passed away Thursday at the age of 88, said Houston Methodist Hospital, a facility where he has had long-standing ties.

"He trained hundreds of students during his career - two percent of neurosurgeons in the United States, in fact," Houston Methodist President and CEO Dr. Marc L. Boom wrote in announcing Grossman's passing. "Beyond his students, Dr. Grossman always had time to mentor others. He was famous for sharing his 'pearls of wisdom,' which made a lasting impression on the youngest student and the most seasoned surgeon."

Grossman joined Houston Methodist in 1980 when he became the chief of neurosurgery service. According to the hospital, he was named in 2005 chairman of the new department of neurosurgery, and held both posts until 2013.

In 2007, the Robert G. Grossman Chair in Neurosurgery was established in his name - a chair he held until his death.

But most notably, Grossman was a 30-year-old neurosurgery resident at Parkland Hospital in Dallas on the afternoon of Nov. 22, 1963. He was called upon to examined the severe head wound sustained by President Kennedy moments after the American leader was shot in downtown.

Grossman's account of what he saw that day was given in detail in the pages of the book "Where Were You? America Remembers the JFK Assassination".

In the book, Grossman recalls the moment he and a colleague were summoned to JFK.

"The phone rang, and someone said to me, 'Come to the emergency room. President's been shot,'" Grossman states. "We thought it was a prank."

PHOTOS: The assassination of JFK in Dallas on November 22, 1963

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Pres. John F. Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline Kennedy are greeted by an enthusiastic crowd at Dallas Love Field on Nov. 22, 1963. The president was assassinated a few hours later
AP Photo/XCB

In a twist of fate, Grossman also examined Lee Harvey Oswald, the man believed to have pulled the fateful trigger in Kennedy's assassination.

"I examined him ... I don't think Oswald could have been saved," Grossman went on to say.

A memorial service for Grossman is being planned for Sunday afternoon.

SEE ALSO: The day before: President John F. Kennedy on the last full day of his life

Houston man recalls meeting Pres. John F. Kennedy day before he was assassinated

"I often wonder what would've happened had he survived," said Maierson, who had just turned 21 at the time.