A hospice murder-suicide was reported in eastern Pennsylvania at 1pm today. An elderly man identified as Elwood Osman shot and killed his 83-year-old wife Mildred, a hospice patient at the Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown, then turned the gun on himself.
There were no witnesses to the hospice murder-suicide, since the hospice room was private and no one else immediately present. The shooting was confined to that room, and no other patients or staff were in jeopardy.
"Contrary to some rumors, this was not an active shooter situation," said Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin.
Martin said that at 1:03 p.m., three hospital staff heard a gunshot coming from the hospice room. They found Mildred dead in her bed, with her husband Elwood in the room beside her.
The deceased couple's son, Thomas Osman, said that his mother suffered from spinal stenosis and macular degeneration, and recently had a stroke. Elwood Osman was distraught, and wanted to end both his and his wife's suffering.
The Lehigh Valley Health Network states that patients enter the hospice unit after a terminal illness diagnosis, and a life expectancy of six months or less.
"He unfortunately only saw one solution left anymore," Thomas told the Lehigh Valley Morning Call about the hospice murder-suicide. "And we believe he got handgun and did what he did."
Thomas does not blame either of his parents for his loss, and sees the act as a mercy killing.
"This was a loving couple," he said. "I am upset, of course, but all I have is love and respect for my father and my mother."
The hospital was not evacuated after the hospice murder-suicide, and police officers secured the scene shortly after the shooting.
"This is a very tragic event, and our hearts go out to the family of the deceased and our Lehigh Valley Health Network colleagues who were involved," said Chuck Lewis, senior vice president of the Lehigh Valley Health Network, in a statement.
This hospice murder-suicide is only the latest instance of a terminally ill patient's "mercy killing." The Last year, an Ohio man shot and killed his ailing 65-year-old wife in her hospital room, and an Arizona man was charged with fatally shooting his terminally ill 81-year-old wife.
Published by Medicaldaily.com