Trying to save John Lennon: Syracuse surgeon recalls that night 40 years ago as NYC medical resident

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SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Many across the world are marking the 40th anniversary of the assassination of John Lennon outside his home in New York City.

For a Syracuse surgeon, Dec. 8, 1980, is the day he tried to save John Lennon’s life after the shooting outside the Dakota.

Dr. David Halleran was a young medical resident at what was then Roosevelt Hospital in New York City.

In a 2015 interview with NewsChannel 9, Halleran, now a Syracuse surgeon, remembers:

“This was STAT to the ER, so I go down to the ER directly and I say ‘What’s going on?’ and they say we have a gunshot wound to the chest coming in, period.”

But it wasn’t long after the shooting victim arrived in the ER that the medical team started to recognize the gravity of the situation.

“Several minutes in, maybe 10 or so, someone says, ‘That looks like John Lennon,’ and I said, ‘No it’s not John Lennon, it can’t be John Lennon,'” Halleran says.

Over the years others have taken credit for being the doctor that tried to save Lennon. Halleran remained quiet until eventually breaking his silence, a few decades later.

“There are some memories that stay with you forever and these are pretty crisp memories,” he says.

NewsChannel 9 also talked with some of the nurses who were with Halleran that night in 1980 at Roosevelt Hospital.

Deartra Sato told NewsChannel 9 on the 35th anniversary of Lennon’s death:

“When Dr. Halleran had pronounced him and the ER gets very quiet, we have to have music in the emergency room always and they were playing ‘Imagine’ and we were liked, ‘Ohhh.'”

“I think the world is a little less because John Lennon was taken from us,” Halleran told NewsChannel 9.

It’s not the only Syracuse connection for Lennon. In 1971 he came with his wife Yoko Ono for an art show she was having at the Everson Museum of Art.


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