By Steve Chawkins, Los Angeles Times –
VENTURA, Calif. — A British online auction house is offering a glass vial that it says held blood samples taken from President Ronald Reagan after his attempted assassination in 1981.
PFCAuctions.com says the tube, with its residue of what appears to be dried blood, is being sold by an owner whose mother worked for a laboratory connected with George Washington University Hospital at the time Reagan was shot by John W. Hinckley Jr.
Reagan was seriously wounded in the attempt. He died of complications from Alzheimer’s disease in 2004.
In Simi Valley, Calif., the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation issued a statement denouncing the sale and threatening legal action against the auction house. “If indeed this story is true, it’s a craven act and we will use every legal means to stop its sale or purchase,” said John Heubusch, the foundation’s executive director.
“We’ve spoken to GW Hospital and are assured an investigation as to how something like this could possibly happen is under way. Any individual, including a president of the United States, should feel confident that once they enter into the care of a medical system their privacy and rights are held inviolable.”
A label on the vial has Reagan’s name, his patient ID number, the date and the name of the hospital’s chief thoracic surgeon, according to the auctioneer. An accompanying form on the letterhead of “Bio-Science Laboratories” gives the same information and other details about the blood sample. The auction is supposed to close Thursday. Bidding is up to more than $11,000, according to the auction house’s website.