Jeffrey MacDonald's wounds

Courtesy of

MacDonald's wounds as noted by hospital orderly
Orderly placed Vaseline gauze bandage over small wound in right side of MacDonald's chest through which blood was bubbling.  This was the only injury which seemed to require immediate attention.

MacDonald's wounds as noted by emergency room doctor
NO IMMEDIATE TREATMENT: Same wound noted as described above, plus bruise on left side of forehead (skin not broken), and superficial stab wounds of abdomen & upper left arm.  No stitches required. Normal vital signs: Blood pressure 120/70; respiration rate 26, temp 99.  Decreased breath sounds noted on right side, indicating collapsed lung (confirmed by chest X-ray); chest tube later inserted.  Emotional status: Tearful, angry, agitated to point of hysteria; screaming and cursing.

MacDonald's wounds as noted by surgical resident Benjamin Klein
NO TREATMENT: Same wounds noted as described above, plus four puncture type wounds along linear track on left side of chest, spaced rather evenly, about 2-3 millimeters apart (these marks also observed by MP (Mica) while giving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, "like where someone had dug their nails into him."

Feb. 17, 1970: MacDonald to surgical resident Benjamin Klein
MacDonald told Klein that during the struggle he noticed a "little bubble from his right chest."  No other account of MacDonald's descriptions of his wounds was apparently given by MacDonald at this time.

April 6, 1970: MacDonald to investigators April 6, 1970: MacDonald to investigators
"And I went into that, ah - I went into the bathroom right there and looked in the mirror and didn't - nothing looked wrong.  I mean, there wasn't even really a cut or anything." MacDonald described his wounds as "a couple of blows on the head and a lot of little puncture wounds and a little cut on the abdomen and a couple of stab marks in the arm and a puncture wound in the lung."

April 21, 1970: MacDonald to Dr. Sadoff
Told Sadoff that he had felt a sharp pain in his chest and had then seen blood.  Also told Sadoff that he had sustained 14 lacerations in his chest.

August 1970: Article 32 hearing, MacDonald's testimony
Testified that while examining himself in the hospital either late on the afternoon of February 17 or at some point on February 18, he had noticed - in addition to the wounds observed by the physicians who had attended him - the following wounds, which he said he did not mention to anyone because none of them had required any medical attention:

    Two bumps on the back of his head;

    Two or three puncture wounds in his upper left chest ("I would have guessed them to be icepick wounds");

    Three puncture wounds in his upper left bicep ("which I would take to be icepick wounds");

    A series of "approximately ten" icepick wounds across his abdomen, all of which had already healed without treatment and none of which had penetrated the abdominal wall.

December 1970: Dick Cavett show; MacDonald's words
Said he had sustained 23 wounds in the attack, "some of which were potentially fatal."  He said, "I could have died very easily.  I was in an intensive care unit for several days, and had surgery - you know, chest tubes in my chest."

July 1974: Grand Jury proceeding, MacDonald's testimony
Regarding his wounds, MacDonald said, "...a lot of them aren't listed in the medical report."  He noted his wounds were comprised of the following:

    Four contusions to the head;

    Much larger contusion to the left shoulder;

    Three stab wounds;

    About 17 puncture wounds.

1974-1975: Grand Jury proceeding, physicians' testimony
Benjamin Klein, surgical resident: "I didn't feel that he was in any great danger, medically.  He was not suffering from shock and his wounds were not bleeding very much.  He was able to sit up by himself and to talk without being short of breath."
Merrill Bronstein, staff surgeon: "He was clinically stable.  He didn't have a lot of things besides the pneumothorax and even with that he was not having any difficulty breathing and there was no change in his pulse, blood pressure, or other vital signs.  He had the bruise on his left forehead, the superficial stab wound of the upper left arm, the stab wound in the left upper abdomen, and the stab wound in the right chest."  This last Bronstein described as being a "clean, small, sharp" incision.  It was only one centimeter in length."

   "He had no other stab wounds on his body," Bronstein said.

   "Would you say he did or did not have fourteen icepick wounds around his belly button?" Woerheide asked.

   "He absolutely did not have any icepick wounds anywhere, and I saw his entire body because when I was there his pajamas were removed and I examined him from head to toe."

   "Were you concerned about, let's say, his ability to survive the effects of the injuries?" Woerheide asked.

   "No.  I was concerned about his emotional status.  That was the thing that affected me most, the thing that impressed me the most, the thing that I had the greatest difficulty, as a physician, in dealing with.  If he had had more medical problems, then I could have dealt with him clinically and gotten my mind off the situation."

   "In your opinion, it was not an emergency?"

   "No, sir.  The most remarkable thing to me was that he was so upset."

   Bronstein added that MacDonald had been transferred out of intensive care to a private room the next day.