Tuesday, August 1, 1944
August 1, 1944
JFK was in New England Baptist Hospital, where he underwent his first back surgery performed by Lahey Clinic neurosurgeon James L. Poppen.
Poppen reported his findings to Captain Frederic L. Conklin at the Chelsea Naval Hospital as follows:
The fourth space was completely normal. However, the nerve in the fifth interspace was reddened and underlying this, the disk interspace material was abnormally soft and the posterior longitudinal ligament was firmly adherent to the nerve root. There, however, was very little protrusion of the ruptured cartilage. A thorough removal of the degenerative portion of the cartilage was carried out. The microscopic report showed fibrocartilage with degeneration as per Dr. Shields Warren.
In other words, the pathology found was surprisingly unimpressive and Kennedy most likely received a unilateral L4-L5 laminotomy with discectomy for a non-protruding disc.