Hospice Murder-Suicide: Husband, 86, Kills Dying Wife, 83, Then Self

Wednesday, 20 Mar 2013 01:13 PM

By Alexandra Ward

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An elderly man reportedly shot and killed his wife before turning the gun on himself at a Pennsylvania hospice facility in a murder-suicide that one administrator called a "love story."

Police found the body of Mildred Osman, 83, along with the body of her 86-year-old husband Elwood in bed in a hospice room of the Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown on Tuesday afternoon in what "preliminarily appears to be a murder-suicide," Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin told CBS Philly.

"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," Chuck Lewis, the hospital's senior vice president of external affairs, said in a statement.

No other patients or hospital workers were threatened or harmed, and the hospital wasn't evacuated, officials said.

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"Contrary to some rumors, this was not an active shooter situation. No other patients were in jeopardy," Martin told CBS Philly.

Hospital administrators say Mildred Osman was admitted into hospice care March 7, and that her husband Elwood killed her and then himself because he couldn't bear to live without her. The hospital says patients can enter the hospice unit only with a diagnosis of a terminal illness and a life expectancy of six months or less.

"It's a love story," Jim Geiger, senior vice president of operations at Lehigh Valley Health Network, told CBS Philly. "The elderly gentleman could not bear to see his wife suffering, and the family, I believe, have observed that he could not envision living without her."

Like many hospitals, Lehigh Valley Hospital doesn’t use metal detectors to screen its visitors, Geiger said, but security officers will wand an individual is he or she is believed to have a weapon.

Tuesday's shooting made another Pennsylvania hospital question its security policies.

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"Do we need to do something better here?" Mike Wright, deputy director of Reading Hospital's security, said to local WFMZ-TV News. "Our hearts go out to the family and our colleagues at Lehigh Valley. We know that it will be difficult situation for them."

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