Special Reports

Helping out after an assasination attempt in 1972

As we begin another election campaign cycle, here’s a look back at an account of a former Tri-City resident who became involved in an election-year tragedy.

Former Richland woman helps save Gov. Wallace

By The Tri-City Herald staff

Published on March 16, 1972

A former Richland woman hurried to the emergency room at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring, Md., to help save the life of Gov. George Wallace.

Mrs. Rudolph Allessio, of 1305 Stevens Drive, Richland, said her daughter Cynthia told her by telephone she was going off duty when the emergency began.

It was a madhouse with Secret Service, police, reporters and photographers in the hospital where she is an operating room technician, she told her mother.

“She said her supervisor called her in, told her to get to ER I (an emergency room) in a hurry, and shoved a clean gown in her face,” Mrs. Allessio said.

In the hall, police and Secret Service “grabbed both arms” to hurry her to the emergency room. “She still didn’t know what was going on.”

Gov. Wallace, shot during a campaign appearance at a nearby shopping center, was lying on the emergency table when Miss Allessio entered.

“They didn’t now if they’d get him off the table,” she told her mother, “He was bleeding to death.”

Miss Allessio, 22, who has worked at Holy Cross since October, started intravenous feeding, blood transfusions and performed some suturing. The extensive injuries, “looked like the bullet exploded,” Miss Allessio told her mother.

At one point she asked a man to move away from her working area. She realized later it was Hubert Humphrey.

Also in the emergency room, reporters and television cameramen were grabbing her arms to ask her what was being done and what Wallace’s condition was, her mother said.

Later, during about 45 minutes in surgery, the room was filled with Secret Service and police who were to identify the bullets being removed.

It was after about two hours of emergency room treatment and surgery that Miss Allessio was relieved by another technician. Then she had to change clothes to get out of the hospital and away from reporters seeking comments on Wallace’s condition.Miss Allessio lives in Greenbelt, Md., a suburb of Silver Spring, with her sister, Deborah, 20, a private secretary in a law firm.