As we get ready to mark the 35th anniversary of John Lennon’s death, questions have arisen about what exactly happened when the former Beatles member was rushed to the hospital after getting shot at his New York City apartment.
The facts in the case that shook the world are well-known. On the evening of December 8, 1980, John Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono were returning to The Dakota, in New York City, at 10:50 p.m. after a recording session at Record Plant studio. Witnesses said later that Mark David Chapman was hiding in the shadows, by the building’s archway and fired five shots straight at Lennon, mortally wounding him.
John Lennon was bleeding profusely, but he managed to walk up some steps to the building’s reception area, where he said, “I’m shot, I’m shot.” Jay Hastings, the concierge of the Dakota Apartments where Lennon and Ono lived, started to make a tourniquet to stop John’s bleeding. Hastings realized how serious the wounds were, so he covered John with his uniform jacket and called the police. Blood was also coming out of the singer’s mouth when police arrived, and once they realized how severe his injuries were, they put him in their patrol car and rushed Lennon to St Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center.
What happened next has been a matter of great discussion and has led to the unavoidable conspiracy theories, one of which claimed the killer was a CIA hitman. The government was not happy with John Lennon’s activism, and he was allegedly being watched.
Fox News Channel Media Buzz host, Howard Kurtz, did an in-depth piece about John Lennon’s death, and what happened in the aftermath.
“I was stunned to learn that after 35 years of reporting, the media narrative of what happened to John Lennon when he got to the hospital on that fateful night was deeply flawed. From medical details to the reaction of Yoko Ono…”
In a Media Buzz report titled, “The Untold John Lennon Story,” Kurtz picked up the tragic events when Lennon arrived at the hospital in the patrol car, based on information shared by witnesses for the first time. Initially, Lennon was identified as John Doe and not one of the most influential musicians of his time. Now, what really happened the night of John Lennon’s death is revealed.
Dr. David Halleran, a 29-year-old third-year resident at the time, told the story of what happened that fateful night on December 8, 1980. This is how Halleran described his first glimpse of John Lennon in the Emergency Room.
“(Lennon arrived with) four shots over the front of the chest, three exit wounds out the back. Not responsive, no pulse and immediately just opened up his chest. His heart’s intact, a lot of blood.”
What was remarkable about Halleran’s account, Kurtz said, was that over the years it was extensively reported in the media that two other doctors claimed they were the ones who operated in the mortally injured John Lennon. Halleran — who is now a surgeon in Syracuse, New York — is speaking out as a new movie — The Lennon Report — depicting the event that transpired at the hospital is set to be released. So why is Dr. Halleran speaking out now?
“It’s unseemly for a professional to go out and say, ‘Hi, I’m Dave Halleran, I took care of John Lennon.’ Never done that.”
When Kurtz argued that had Dr. Halleran told his story of operating on John Lennon, he would have gotten a lot of media attention, the physician said, “Yes, but I would have come across as a b***head.”
Halleran’s statements debunk the story that it was the head of the Emergency Department, Dr. Stephan Lynn, who received John Lennon and attempted to save his life. Lynn had reportedly been on call for 13-hours when he was called to come back to the hospital a few minutes before the famous musician arrived.
According to this account on the Toronto Sun from 2010, Dr. Lynn, two other doctors, and a nurse worked on Lennon between 15 to 20 minutes trying to revive him. As a last resort, Lynn said he opened Lennon’s chest to start manual heart massage to restore circulation, which was unsuccessful. John Lennon was pronounced dead at the Roosevelt Hospital at 11:15 pm by Dr. Lynn.
Nurse Barbara Kammerer confirmed Halleran’s statement about the night of John Lennon’s death and said the resident was the one performing the heart massage. Another nurse who was in room 115 also says that it was Halleran who deserves the credit for trying to save Lennon’s life.
Dr. Halleran said he was distraught and upset, and just wondered what else he could have done to save Lennon. “You feel somewhat responsible and you wonder what could you have done differently.”
On December 8, 1980, Dr. Lynn was the one who addressed reporters waiting for any news on the musician’s condition and informed the world of John Lennon’s death.
[Photo by George Stroud/Getty Images]