Terminally ill woman dies a day after hospital garage mugging

August 17, 1994|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,Sun Staff Writer

An 86-year-old woman -- the mother of the chief doctor at Mercy Medical Center -- died last night, about 24 hours after a mugger snatched her purse in the hospital's parking garage, Baltimore police reported.

The victim, Mary Goodman, of the first block of Slade Ave. in the Pikesville area, was a terminally ill cancer patient who had gone to the hospital for treatment. Her son, Dr. Jay Goodman, is the chief of the Department of Medicine at Mercy.

Police said Mrs. Goodman suffered head, neck and shoulder injuries when a mugger ripped her purse from her shoulder and fled about 4:50 p.m. on Monday.

Accompanied her husband Julius, 87, Mrs. Goodman had sought medical attention at the hospital after her condition worsened. They were leaving the hospital, standing by an elevator to take them to their car, when the mugger struck.

Police said Mrs. Goodman was pronounced dead at the hospital at 4:45 p.m. yesterday.

Officer Robert W. Weinhold, a police spokesman, said the incident is being investigated as a robbery and "questionable" death.

Officer Weinhold said police are awaiting autopsy results which may determine if Mrs. Goodman's death was directly related to the purse-snatching. A homicide investigator has been assigned to the case, and the city state's attorney's office will review the evidence to determine if Mrs. Goodman's assailant should be charged with murder, he added.

Peg Benzinger, a hospital spokeswoman, said the condition of Mrs. Goodman's health was so precarious that "even a sneeze" could have had an adverse impact on her. Ms. Benzinger said Mrs. Goodman's doctor declined to speculate on whether the attack may have played a role in her death.

"Obviously, any incident like this is unfortunate," said Ms. Benzinger. "Certainly, when it is a member of the Mercy family, it makes our sympathy and concern that much greater."

Police said Julius Goodman was unable to provide a description of the attacker, other than to say he was teen-ager. A suspect had not been arrested last night.

Contacted at his home yesterday, Mr. Goodman declined to comment and referred questions to the hospital. Dr. Goodman, speaking through a hospital spokeswoman, also declined to comment.

After the mugger struck, the couple walked to their car and drove to the garage's first level, where they reported the incident to a security guard, police said.

Ms. Benzinger said Mrs. Goodman's condition began to deteriorate as she sat in the car, and she was quickly admitted to the hospital.

Ms. Benzinger said there are numerous security cameras in the garage, as well as "safety assistance buttons" that people can press to alert security. She also said people and employees can ask for escorts to their cars.

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