A 1990 University graduate suffered a punctured lung after he was stabbed in the back early Sunday morning in a robbery near 41st and Chestnut streets. Felsen, 21, said yesterday that he was mugged and hit by an assailant wielding a knife at about 2 a.m. Sunday but did not realize he had been stabbed until he got home. After the attack, he hurried to his nearby apartment, called for help from his housemates, dialed for police and then collapsed on the floor. Only after paramedics arrived did he learn his assailant had not just hit him in the back, but instead plunged a knife into it. Although he is expected to recover fully, Felsen said the incident has him on edge. "Penn's been like Dodge City lately," he said. "My parents are really nervous and want me to move out of the city. Now I might want to get out." He said he feels fortunate that he was not more seriously hurt. "It's hard to feel lucky after being stabbed and mugged, but I do," he said. Because the incident was reported to Philadelphia Police and not University Police, University Police did not include it in its listing of weekend crimes. Felsen said Philadelphia Police have no suspects. He said no police officers contacted him at HUP or at his off-campus house until he talked to a friend of a friend in another department. Even then, he said, the only help police offered was to invite him to headquarters at 55th and Pine streets between midnight and 8 a.m. to look at mug books, he said. A Philadelphia Police 18th District detective said late last night that a detective has been assigned to the case. No other information was available. Felsen, who is living in Philadelphia to play keyboards in a band, said he had gone to dinner with friends at Chili's restaurant on 38th and Chestnut streets and was headed home when the stabbing occurred. He and his friends left each other just outside the restaurant. "One of them said, 'Walk home safely,' " he said. "It was only like three blocks so I decided to walk it." He said he saw a man walking a few steps behind him but fought back an urge to panic. "I was thinking, 'No Brian, I'm not going to have any of the urban paranoia the DP is trying to force into me," he said. Immediately after that thought, he felt a sudden blow to his back and a sharp sting across the back of his neck. He said a black man with short cropped hair and thick glasses sprung to his front, flashed a serated meat knife in his face and yelled, "Give it up. Give it up." The man grabbed his wallet and began rifling through its contents, becoming more agitated as he searched for a MAC card. When the man demanded the card, Felsen, his hands high in the air, said he did not have one. "I've already been stabbed and I have to plead for my life because I don't have a MAC card," he said. "The ultimate crime. I felt totally helpless." Instead of retaliating, the man walked slowly away. But the damage was already done. Even after collapsing, Felsen said he remained conscious as paramedics took him away and was awake even into surgery. He said as he lay on the floor of his apartment, paramedics began cutting his clothes off him. "I started saying 'this is not really necessary," he said. "Why are you being so melodramatic." He then realized his chest hurt even though he was hit in the back. Since most of his bleeding had been internal, he realized only then he had been stabbed. Felsen's story resembles that of Robert O'Brien, a University student stabbed in the chest outside of the McDonald's restaurant at 40th and Walnut streets in 1987. O'Brien said his assailant struck before speaking, catching him by surprise. He said he also believed he had only been punched and did not realize he was stabbed until he began bleeding. O'Brien recovered from his injuries. Felsen said paramedics put shock pants on him and took him to HUP's trauma center. There, he said, doctors drained blood that had colected within his chest and then transfused it back into him. He said doctors then had to cut into his chest and insert a tube to drain off other blood. Doctors were able to use only a local anesthetic so he remained awake the entire time. He said at each of the three times doctors tried to insert the tube, it momentarily cut off his breathing. "It was like I was drowning," he said. "It was really horrible." When he arrived at HUP, he only had 60 percent use of his lung. By Monday, he said, he could use 95 percent.Comments powered by Disqus
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