Quantcast

Surgeon who once saved MLK's life dies in NY at 95 - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Surgeon who once saved MLK's life dies in NY at 95

Posted: Updated:
NEW YORK (AP) -

Dr. John W. V. Cordice, a surgeon who was part of the medical team that saved Martin Luther King Jr. from a nearly fatal stab wound in 1958, has died at age 95.

Sunday's death was announced by the city agency that oversees Harlem Hospital Center, where Cordice was formerly an attending surgeon and chief of thoracic surgery.

"He was a brilliant clinical practitioner, a wise and thoughtful teacher, and a man of deep and abiding kindness and quiet modesty," city Health and Hospitals Corp. President Alan D. Aviles said Tuesday. "It is entirely consistent with his character that many who knew him may well not have known that he was also a part of history."

Cordice was off duty when King was taken to the hospital after a mentally disturbed woman stabbed him with a letter-opener as he signed books in Harlem. The 7-inch steel blade was still stuck in the civil rights leader's chest, millimeters from his aorta, when Cordice arrived from Brooklyn.

The operation was overseen by Dr. Aubre Maynard, the hospital's chief surgeon, and performed by Cordice and Dr. Emil Naclerio.

King, then 29 and already a name in national politics, was discharged 14 days later. He was assassinated in 1968.

"I think if we had lost King that day, the whole civil rights era would have been different," Cordice said in a Harlem Hospital promotional video in 2012.

King, in his final public speech, talked about that close brush with mortality, noting that the blade had been so close to his vital organs that if he had sneezed before surgeons had a chance to remove it, he would have died.

"If I had sneezed, I wouldn't have been around here in 1960, when students all over the South started sitting-in at lunch counters," he said. "If I had sneezed, I wouldn't have been around here in 1961, when we decided to take a ride for freedom and ended segregation in inter-state travel ... If I had sneezed I wouldn't have been here in 1963, when the black people of Birmingham, Ala., aroused the conscience of this nation, and brought into being the Civil Rights Bill. If I had sneezed, I wouldn't have had a chance later that year, in August, to try to tell America about a dream that I had."

Cordice, a native of Durham, N. C., earned his medical degree at New York University in 1942. He practiced medicine in the city for 40 years. He lived in Harlem and then Queens, where he was also a surgical chief at the Queens Hospital Center.

  • KTBS 3 InvestigatesMore>>

  • KTBS 3 Investigation finds low levels of chlorine in Shreveport's public pools

    KTBS 3 Investigation finds low levels of chlorine in Shreveport's public pools

    Sunday, July 27 2014 10:00 PM EDT2014-07-28 02:00:13 GMT
    National data from the CDC reveals one in eight pool inspections found serious violations that threatened public health and safety and resulted in immediate closure. Pretty gross, right? 
    National data from the CDC reveals one in eight pool inspections found serious violations that threatened public health and safety and resulted in immediate closure. Pretty gross, right? 
  • Overton Brooks' Patient's appointment cancellation causes concern

    Overton Brooks' Patient's appointment cancellation causes concern

    Friday, July 11 2014 2:28 PM EDT2014-07-11 18:28:29 GMT
    We've been told by many veterans that they receive quality care at the V.A. hospital in Shreveport. But for some getting an appointment to see their caregivers is the challenge. According to our V.A., they do not have a problem getting patients seen quickly - and the numbers they report echo that conclusion. We’ve uncovered concerns, however, over how their numbers look so good - while patients are still waiting to be seen.“Certainly from my viewpoint here, as a veteran, as a physician, the c...
    We've been told by many veterans that they receive quality care at the V.A. hospital in Shreveport. But for some getting an appointment to see their caregivers is the challenge. According to our V.A., they do not have a problem getting patients seen quickly - and the numbers they report echo that conclusion. We’ve uncovered concerns, however, over how their numbers look so good - while patients are still waiting to be seen.“Certainly from my viewpoint here, as a veteran, as a physician, the c...
  • Overton Brooks Patient says V.A. is lying about access to care

    Overton Brooks Patient says V.A. is lying about access to care

    Friday, July 11 2014 2:14 PM EDT2014-07-11 18:14:50 GMT
    So far we've brought you a whistle blower employee, and then, after two weeks of waiting, you heard the official V.A. response. But it's said that there are three sides to every story.“We're not challenged for access at Overton Brooks, we can provide same day access, that's why we're encouraging same day access, that's why we're encouraging veterans to enroll into our system.” Those are the words from Interim Director at Overton Brooks V.A. Medical Center, Toby Mathew, during the news confere...
    So far we've brought you a whistle blower employee, and then, after two weeks of waiting, you heard the official V.A. response. But it's said that there are three sides to every story.“We're not challenged for access at Overton Brooks, we can provide same day access, that's why we're encouraging same day access, that's why we're encouraging veterans to enroll into our system.” Those are the words from Interim Director at Overton Brooks V.A. Medical Center, Toby Mathew, during the news confere...
  • ArkLaTex SlideshowsMore>>

  • ArkLaTex Adoptable Pets

    ArkLaTex Adoptable Pets

    Monday, July 28 2014 10:51 AM EDT2014-07-28 14:51:53 GMT
    There are lots of animals in the Ark-La-Tex who are looking for that perfect home.
    There are lots of animals in the Ark-La-Tex who are looking for that perfect home.
  • Bossier's 30th Young Marines class graduates

    Bossier's 30th Young Marines class graduates

    Monday, July 28 2014 8:33 AM EDT2014-07-28 12:33:50 GMT
    Photo courtesy Allen J.M. Smith, BPSOPhoto courtesy Allen J.M. Smith, BPSO
    Twenty-nine recruits ranging from eight years old to teen years earned the title as Bossier Sheriff's Young Marines as Class 30 graduated in front of a packed house of 200 people Friday night at the Bossier Sheriff's Substation in Bossier City.
    Twenty-nine recruits ranging from eight years old to teen years earned the title as Bossier Sheriff's Young Marines as Class 30 graduated in front of a packed house of 200 people Friday night at the Bossier Sheriff's Substation in Bossier City.
  • KTBS 3 St. Jude Dream Home opens for public tours

    KTBS 3 St. Jude Dream Home opens for public tours

    Friday, July 25 2014 9:24 AM EDT2014-07-25 13:24:04 GMT
    KTBS 3 St. Jude Dream Home photos courtesy of Courtney Avery.KTBS 3 St. Jude Dream Home photos courtesy of Courtney Avery.
    The 2014 KTBS 3 St. Jude Dream Home is now open for weekend tours.
    The 2014 KTBS 3 St. Jude Dream Home is now open for weekend tours.
  • Assignment EducationMore>>

  • Word of God Ministries hosts Operation A+ Stuff the Bus campaign

    Word of God Ministries hosts Operation A+ Stuff the Bus campaign

    Thursday, July 31 2014 8:17 PM EDT2014-08-01 00:17:38 GMT
    Your generous donations continue to roll in for ourOperation A+ Stuff the Bus campaign. Today the bus was parked at Word of God Ministries at 6645 W. Bert Kouns from 9am-3pm.
    Your generous donations continue to roll in for ourOperation A+ Stuff the Bus campaign. Today the bus was parked at Word of God Ministries at 6645 W. Bert Kouns from 9am-3pm.
  • BREAKING NEWS: Caddo Parish has allegations of grade changes

    BREAKING NEWS: Caddo Parish has allegations of grade changes

    Thursday, July 31 2014 3:17 PM EDT2014-07-31 19:17:55 GMT
    Caddo Parish Public Schools officials are investigating allegations student grades were changed at Booker T. Washington New Tech High School. The investigation follows an anonymous tip sent to Superintendent Dr. Lamar Goree.
    Caddo Parish Public Schools officials are investigating allegations student grades were changed at Booker T. Washington New Tech High School. The investigation follows an anonymous tip sent to Superintendent Dr. Lamar Goree.
  • Caddo nearly triples AP exam participation

    Caddo nearly triples AP exam participation

    Thursday, July 31 2014 12:46 PM EDT2014-07-31 16:46:15 GMT
    Participation in Advanced Placement exams at Caddo Parish high schools nearly tripled last school year according to data released today by the Louisiana Department of Education.
    Participation in Advanced Placement exams at Caddo Parish high schools nearly tripled last school year according to data released today by the Louisiana Department of Education.
  • NationalMore>>

  • Repairing burst Los Angeles main could take days

    Repairing burst Los Angeles main could take days

    Friday, August 1 2014 3:39 AM EDT2014-08-01 07:39:31 GMT
    Hundreds of cars submerged below murky water. A landmark basketball court, newly refurbished, showing signs of buckling. Soaked and stained carpets. An athletic track coated in mud.
    Repair crews on Thursday were shoring up a giant hole in the middle of Sunset Boulevard caused by a ruptured pipe, as officials at the water-logged University of California, Los Angeles, continued to assess damage from the...
  • Couple channel grief into retreat for veterans

    Couple channel grief into retreat for veterans

    Friday, August 1 2014 2:43 AM EDT2014-08-01 06:43:17 GMT
    Before shipping out for Iraq, Army Sgt. Trevor Blumberg asked his father to do two things if he didn't return: Look after his puppy, Scrappy, and "take care of my guys."
    Before shipping out for Iraq, Army Sgt. Trevor Blumberg asked his father to do two things if he didn't return: Look after his puppy, Scrappy, and "take care of my guys."
  • Tropical Storm Bertha forms in the Atlantic

    Tropical Storm Bertha forms in the Atlantic

    Friday, August 1 2014 2:42 AM EDT2014-08-01 06:42:14 GMT
    Tropical Storm Bertha has formed, becoming the second named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season.
    Tropical Storm Bertha has formed, becoming the second named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season.
  • KTBS 3 News Tips

    Send your news tip or story idea to the KTBS 3 Newsroom.  Enter your email address below to get started.

    * denotes required fields
    We're sorry, but only one entry is allowed per person.
    Thank you for your continued interest.

    Thank you for your submission to KTBS 3 News.  A member of our staff may contact you for more information.

Share Your Images
Powered by WorldNow
    Powered by WorldNow
    All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and KTBS. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.
    Advertising | EEO Public File | KTBS 3 Public File | KPXJ 21 Public File