Feeding Tubes Cut on Six Elderly Patients

Someone stole into the rooms of six elderly, comatose patients in a Fairmount nursing home yesterday and cut their feeding tubes, Philadelphia police said today.

No patient was seriously hurt, but all required surgery to implant new tubes.

"Not only is this a heinous crime based on any type of circumstance, but the fact that these are our senior citizens, and they are in a comatose state, and they are unable to care for themselves - for somebody to do this kind of act is barbaric," said Inspector William Colarulo.

peaking at a 1 p.m. press conference outside Police Headquarters, Colarulo said police received a complaint about 5 p.m. yesterday of the incident at the Philadelphia Nursing Home, 2100 West Girard Ave.

The home's executive director told investigators that between 7 a.m. and 8:30 a.m., someone entered the rooms of six patients and cut their feeding tubes halfway through approximately two inches from their base - next to their stomachs - causing the tubes to leak fluids on the patients.

"Luckily, miraculously, there were no deaths or serious injuries that resulted, said Colarulo, commander of the police Public Affairs Unit. "However, that's a miracle - because it was just a matter of time before these people could have succumbed to this type of devastating act."

The patients were taken to Temple University Hospital, where new tubes were implanted.