Why John F. Kennedy's Doctors Believe Lee Harvey Oswald Didn't Act Alone

The advent of the internet and social media in particular has paved the way for an age of conspiratorial thinking. Ideas about the way the world actually is are able to proliferate with little in the way of solid evidence. But while it is easier than ever for a particular conspiracy theory to find an audience, however outlandish it may be, most tend to remain on the fringes of society. However, there is one conspiracy theory that has gradually grown to the point that a majority of Americans now believe it. 

The theory in question concerns the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, which took place on November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas. The shocking incident was swiftly investigated by the Warren Commission, which concluded JFK was killed by an ex-marine named Lee Harvey Oswald. But since the commission published the findings of its investigation, there has been a growing chorus of people who believe its conclusions are far from accurate. In 2023, a Gallup poll found that 65% of Americans disbelieve the Warren report and think Oswald had help. Interestingly, testimony from doctors who treated Kennedy after the shooting claim that the Warren Commission findings don't correlate with the wounds he had suffered in the attack.

Exit or entrance wound?

The official version of events as told by the Warren Commission report framed the shooting as follows: Lone gunman Lee Harvey Oswald (pictured) was at the window of the Texas School Book Depository as the motorcade carrying John F. Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline passed by. The vehicle had already passed in front of the window when Oswald began shooting, with the assassin's bullets striking the president from behind. The first shot hit Kennedy in the throat, while the second hit him in the head and proved to be fatal.

However, a new documentary on Paramount+, "JFK: What the Doctors Saw," makes clear that some of the medical professionals who were with the dying president disagree with the findings (via Rolling Stone). Executive producer Jacque Lueth interviewed a total of seven doctors who treated JFK at the Parkland Memorial Hospital — where he died. The most compelling point was that Kennedy's throat injury came from a bullet that entered at the front, meaning it was an entrance wound rather than an exit wound — as insisted by the Warren Commission.

What are the implications?

If the opening on the front of President John F. Kennedy's throat was indeed an entrance wound, then it would have been impossible for the bullet that struck him to have come from the barrel of the gun held by Lee Harvey Oswald, as the Texas School Book Depository was to the rear of the presidential motorcade. The implication, then, is that there was a second assassin located at the front of the vehicle, potentially behind the now-legendary "grassy knoll" — a theory that has persisted since doubts about the Warren Commission's finding began to emerge way back in the 1960s.

But the doctors interviewed for the documentary "JFK: What the Doctors Saw" aren't simply suggesting that the Warren Commission had made a mistake in its findings. Instead, the documentary claims that there was a government cover-up and even suggests Secret Service agents pressured doctors to collude in hiding the fact that the president had been shot from the front — and therefore Oswald had been acting alone (via Rolling Stone). ​

Over the years there have been several theories as to the real identity of those being Kennedy's assassination. As Gallup notes, 20% of those surveyed who disbelieved the Warren report said they thought that the president had been killed at the behest of the federal government. Smaller numbers of people believed it was the work of the CIA or the Mafia, though scores of other potential perpetrators have been suggested over the years.