Jean Coyle, a hospital patient who survived a potentially lethal drugging by serial killer Efren Saldivar, died on Dec. 13 of respiratory distress. She was 65.
Before she became ill, Coyle lived a quiet life, working as a housekeeper and raising four children on her own. She was the only victim known to have survived the “Angel of Death,” a former respiratory therapist currently serving a life sentence in prison.
Coyle was hospitalized with severe emphysema in 1997 and placed under Saldivar’s care. In the middle of the night, he injected her with succinylcholine chloride, a paralyzing drug that respiratory therapists would never be authorized to use. She was revived by another nurse after a “code blue” emergency was declared.
“I gave her, I think, a half dose. Something in me just held back,” Saldivar said during questioning by police.
Saldivar was sentenced in 2002 after pleading guilty to six counts of murder and one of attempted murder. He claims to have killed as many as 50 patients during his years at the Glendale Adventist Medical Center in Glendale, Calif. — in order to reduce his workload.
Yesterday, Saldivar settled a wrongful death lawsuit, and was ordered to pay $20 million to the families of Coyle, Salbi Asatryan, Myrtle Brower and Balbino Castro.