Pocahontas County

Pvt. Terrance Kelly Fitzgerald



Fonda, Ia., Soldier Who Was Declared Dead After Heart Wound Is Back Home
Owes His Life to Army Surgeon Who Would Not Give Up

Fonda, Ia.—(AP)—An Iowa veteran who was declared dead once during an operation at a field hospital after a shell fragment had pierced his heart now is readjusting himself to civilian life—thanks to the perseverance and skill of an army surgeon.

The former army private is Terrance Kelly Fitzgerald, 20-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. Emmett Fitzgerald.

He was wounded early last July during the campaign for St. Lo in France.  A shell fragment struck Fitzgerald just under the right shoulder and split into two pieces when it hit a rib.  One piece pierced his right lung, and the other lodged in the right ventricle (a part of the heart.) His identification tags were shot away, leaving him an unknown doughboy.

At a field hospital, all the facilities were placed at the disposal of Capt. Douglas Stone in an effort to save Fitzgerald’s life.

The veteran said the surgeon had to cut away four ribs, reach inside his chest and pull his heart over to the right.  As he worked, the doctor put a finger on the hole in Fitzgerald’s heart to stop the flow of blood.

Fitzgerald received several blood transfusions before the operation began.  Further transfusions seemed impossible, he said, because his veins collapsed from loss of blood.

Capt. Stone, however, ordered more blood and inserted the needle directly into the soldier’s heart to keep it beating.

Fitzgerald said he learned later that he had been declared dead once during the operation but that the surgeon wouldn’t give up.

“As soon as Capt. Stone get to his home in Baltimore, I’m going to take a trip,” the Iowan added.  “I want to thank him.”

Source: The Sioux City Journal, Thursday, April 26, 1945