Fort Worth

JPS nurse injured in elevator has been moved out of the ICU, her attorney says

News conference at JPS regarding company contracted to maintain elevators

Officials at John Peter Smith Hospital released details Friday about the employee who was seriously hurt in an elevator accident on Jan. 20. The employee is Carren Stratford, a nurse in her mid-50s who has been with the hospital about 2.5 years.
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Officials at John Peter Smith Hospital released details Friday about the employee who was seriously hurt in an elevator accident on Jan. 20. The employee is Carren Stratford, a nurse in her mid-50s who has been with the hospital about 2.5 years.

The nurse who was seriously injured during an elevator malfunction at John Peter Smith Hospital last month has been moved out of the Intensive Care Unit, one of her attorneys said Wednesday.

Carren Stratford is now in a unit that will provide her different types of therapies to help in her rehabilitation, attorney Kern Lewis said.

“She has a limited ability to communicate and we anticipate she’s going to need long-term therapy and rehab,” Lewis said.

Stratford was injured on Jan. 20 as she tried to get into elevator No. 29 at JPS. As Stratford placed her right foot on the elevator and stepped into it, the elevator continued rising. She lost her balance and the elevator continued going up. She was crushed between the 10th and 11th floors, officials said.

Stratford’s other attorney, Frank Branson, said Stratford suffered severe brain damage, internal injuries and has had multiple seizures and surgeries.

Elevator No. 29 has had a history of maintenance and safety problems dating to at least 2015, according to documents obtained by the Star-Telegram through a public records request.

The elevator had been out of service at least four times in the year before the accident, including at least two weeks in the month prior to the employee’s injury, the records show. The elevator has not been back in service.

In 2015, the elevator was flagged for having undersized hoist ropes and for problems with the pressure setting on its door-closure system, according to records.

JPS Chief Executive Officer Robert Earley has sent Thyssenkrupp Elevators several letters expressing his concern and frustration over the company’s lack of response to problems. The hospital has posted the letters publicly.

Earley said JPS is seeking a new contractor as part of its obligation to ensure people’s safety at the hospital, but there are a limited number of companies that maintain elevators.

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Nichole Manna is an investigative reporter for the Star-Telegram. Before moving to Fort Worth in July 2018, she covered crime and breaking news in Tennessee, North Carolina, Nebraska and Kansas. She is a 2012 graduate of Middle Tennessee State University and grew up in Florida.

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