PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – In late March 1981, President Reagan appeared to be unscathed in an attempt on his life but that was not the case.

Moments after the assassination attempt in Washington, a secret service agent made a snap decision to go to the hospital not the White House.

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Reporter Del Wilbur says that and heroics in an operating room saved his life.

“On this day David Adelberg was a 31-year-old surgical intern. He gets roped into Reagan’s surgical team. He was there with the main surgeon hunting for this bullet. David Adelberg reached his hand inside the President’s chest, gently cupped the President’s beating heart in his hand and nestled it aside to give the other surgeon more room.”

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Author Del Wilbur wrote “Rawhide Down”, the story of that fateful day.

You can hear Larry Kane’s interview with Del Wilber in this CBS Philly ‘Specials Place’ podcast…

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Reported By Special Contributor Larry Kane, KYW Newsradio