Coyle had been in and out of Glendale Adventist Medical Center for
about 10 years for problems associated with emphysema, when she
received a dose of either Pavulon or succinylcholine chloride from
Saldivar in February 1997, police said.
The drugs are used to stop a patient's breathing before surgery
and without proper treatment, the person can suffocate.
Coyle was revived after a "code blue" emergency, because hospital
staff responded quickly enough to save her, said Mario Yagoda, one of
six Glendale Police Department officials who spent four years
investigating Saldivar, who was a respiratory therapist at Glendale
Adventist and other area hospitals.
Saldivar was spared the death penalty last year after he agreed to
serve six consecutive life sentences without parole -- one for each
victim -- and an extra life sentence for Coyle's attempted murder.
"[Coyle] was extremely lucky that staff responded so quickly and
that she lived to tell the story," Yagoda said Tuesday. "She was the
sole survivor, based on our investigation. She was a really nice
lady. I worked closely with her. I'm really sorry to hear about her
A viewing for Coyle is from 5 to 8 p.m. Sunday at Guerra Gutierrez
Mortuary, 5800 E. Beverly Blvd. in East Los Angeles. A graveside
funeral Mass is at 10 a.m. Monday at the chapel at same site. The
viewing and funeral Mass are open to the public.
Family members this week remembered Coyle as a "loving woman" who
always showed up for family functions with her hair done and makeup
on, said Kristy Phanuekthong, Coyle's granddaughter.
Just before her death, Coyle had compiled a list of Christmas
gifts she wanted to get for family members, Phanuekthong said
Tuesday. Family members are collecting items to put in a box that
will be placed inside Coyle's casket, including Coyle's lucky bingo
cards, pictures and letters.
"Our family is not that big, and she was such a big part of it,"
said Phanuekthong, 21. "She was a feisty woman, and always said what
was on her mind.
"Our family had a lot of anger toward [Saldivar] back then, but
that is all resolved. But I think she was at peace with dying now,
because she had been ill for so long. She lived seven or eight years
past [the Saldivar incident], and that is a miracle," Phanuekthong
The Glendale Police Department spent more than $2 million
investigating the Saldivar case, Yagoda said. Police served more than
30 search warrants, interviewed more than 300 hospital employees and
researched more than 500 medical records, Yagoda said.
Saldivar told authorities he contributed to hundreds of patient
deaths and described himself as an "angel of death" because he said
he could not stand to see patients suffer. He later recanted his
confession and medical records showed that the health of some of his
victims had improved before they died, police said.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that people make donations to
the American Lung Assn. by calling (212) 315-8700 or visiting