FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – John Peter Smith Hospital on Friday responded to elevator safety concerns after a nurse was seriously injured in an elevator there in January.
JPS Hospital did not take responsibility for the elevators, instead blaming multiple malfunctions on the elevator company, Thyssenkrupp.
“The one thing we are not is elevator experts. We do trauma care, We do trauma care to cancer care to clinic care. We are not elevator experts,” said Robert Earley, President and CEO of JPS Hospital. “We hire elevator experts and we thought we had elevator experts… We’ve got a contract that clearly spells out what elevator companies are supposed to do to help with the safety and security of everybody who works here.”
Carren Stratford, 56, is still alive after being crushed between the 10th and 11th floors by an elevator at JPS on January 20.
JPS Hospital says the nurse was stepping onto elevator 29 when it started moving before she was completely inside it.
She’s been in ICU at JPS Hospital since then suffering brain damage, seizures, internal injuries and undergoing multiple surgeries.
“She has two adult children,” said Frank Branson, Stratford’s lawyer. “She is getting ready to go back to get a masters in nursing.”
According to Branson, she won’t be able to do that now.
“She put that right foot in that elevator and as she did that, the elevator continues to go up, knocked her off balance and caused her to have that elevator continue to rise and crushed her on that elevator,” said Earley.
Thyssenkrupp told CBS 11 in a statement: “As we have just received the details surrounding her tragic accident, it wouldn’t be appropriate to provide further comment until we have had a chance to review and better understand what happened on January 20, 2019.”
What happened to Stratford isn’t an isolated incident.
There have been other injuries and many other problems with the elevators.
The CBS 11 investigation of public records show elevator 29 trapped people at least five other times in the past year.
Service records note it was inspected for several days in May and August of 2018.
Aside from elevator 29, other elevators at JPS we’re riddled with problems from violently shaking, to doors opening while the elevators were moving.
CBS 11 asked Earley to tell the public what JPS has done to make the elevators safer.
He said it was up to the elevator company, Thyssenkrupp.
“I can’t tell you how difficult it is when I walk into work and there’s six elevators that are inoperable after they have been reviewed for their safety, and there’s six elevators that are inoperable when I walk in 7 o’clock in the morning and I leave at 7 o’clock at night and now I have eight elevators that are inoperable,” said Earley.
Thyssenkrupp said all of the elevators at JPS were checked twice after the nurse was crushed, but JPS said it continues to have problems.
The records show Thyssenkrupp was here regularly for issues in the last year.
“Our obligation is to make sure, through the experts we use, that this is as safe as possible,” said Earley. “Very much like when you get on an airplane. You get in an airplane, you’re going to make sure, not as a passenger that that plans runs safely…everybody else did their job.”