Wife, grandson of Kennedy’s doctor reflect on legacy

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Zac Efron plays Dr. Charles James Carrico in the movie “Parkland.” (Courtesy of First Showing)

Courtney Madden

Contributing Writer


On Nov. 22, 1963 Dr. Charles James Carrico told his wife, Sue, goodbye for what seemed like a normal day at work, but when he returned home after a 12-hour shift at Parkland Hospital, he had memories that would haunt him forever.

Nearly 50 years after the JFK assassination and 11 years after losing her husband to colon cancer, those memories all remain vivid to Sue Carrico. She is still hesitant to speak about her husband’s role as the first doctor to treat President John F. Kennedy.

“As a kid I didn’t know much about it,” Tim Telaneus, grandson of the Carricos, said. “All I ever heard was he was the first doctor to see JFK. It was just a cool trivial thing.”

For most Americans, the Lincoln convertible cruising down the streets of Dallas, the president’s warm smile, and the first lady’s dainty wave laced with her classic pink outfit remain etched in their memories. The 50th anniversary marks a day when politics were set aside and Americans came together to grieve.

The Kennedy legacy is defined in many ways and is evoked nationwide through simple memories, hand-written letters and firsthand experiences. For the Carrico family, the movie “Parkland,” released Oct. 2 is yet another reminder of the day that Sue Carrico cannot forget. The Dallas hospital marks where both Kennedy and his assassin Lee Harvey Oswald were pronounced dead.

Sue Carrico attended the “Parkland” premiere in Dallas nearly a month before the release with Telaneus on her arm. Although he always heard about his grandfather’s accomplishments, it was not until the premiere that he realized not only did his grandfather make outstanding medical accomplishments, but he also made history.

“As I have gotten older I have learned how big of a deal he is and that he is one of the most influential doctors in the world of trauma surgery,” Telaneus said about his grandfather. “As a kid the fact that he was the president of the American College of Surgeons was always a way bigger deal to the family.”

Telaneus explained the premiere was much more emotional than expected. Not only did “Nana” get teary-eyed, but so did Telaneus. After the showing they were both approached by the producer of the film.

“It was incredible for me to witness the producer approach both Nana and I, with so much honor to shake the both of our hands,” Telaneus said. “I was even more shocked when I noticed he was nervous. I felt like we should have been the ones nervous.”

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