LDS Woman's Death from Hospital Error Leads to Lawsuit
NEW HAVEN, CONNECTICUT -- Medical errors at Saint Raphael Hospital in
New Haven, Connecticut are responsible for the deaths of Doris "Dot"
Herdman, 72, of Southington and Joan Cannon, 68, of Wallingford. The
hospital staff disclosed that the two women died when they were
mistakenly given nitrous oxide instead of oxygen during routine heart
procedures. Officials began the investigation after Cannon, who was
younger, died in the same operating room as Herdman after receiving
the same procedure. The families of both women are struggling to cope
with the grief and anger caused by the manner of the deaths.
"It's a lot to swallow, all at once," said a neighbor who lives a few
doors down at Herdman's upscale condominium complex. "They've already
buried her. They were trying to go on. Now they find out she wasn't
taken by the disease, but by a mistake."
Herdman was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints and the matriarch of a large, extended family, many of whom
still live in the Plantsville section of Southington, where she moved
to in 1964. Herdman was known for her love of square dancing and her
many cats. She is survived by her husband Roy, who suffered the death
of a parent weeks before the death of his wife of 53 years, a
daughter, four grandchildren and a great-granddaughter.
Cannon was described by former neighbor, Mary Ann Lane of
Wallingford, as warm and outgoing, always well dressed and well
spoken. Cannon is survived by her husband, William, four adult
children and nine grandchildren. She was born in New Haven and was a
member of the Wallingford Women's Club.
Although autopsy reports did not show asphyxiation as the cause by
nitrous oxide, which leaves no readily visible evidence on the body,
the state's chief medical examiner, Dr. Wayne Carver, will perform
toxicology tests and review medical records to try and piece together
Anger Colors Grief In Wake Of Deaths
Hartford CT Courant 18Jan02 P2
By Penelope Overton and Josh Kovner: Courant Staff Writers