Fort Worth

Woman sues JPS Hospital, Thyssenkrupp after being injured while riding elevator

Elevator that injured JPS nurse trapped 13 people in 1 year, records show

After a nurse at Fort Worth’s John Peter Smith Hospital was seriously injured in an elevator maintained by Thyssenkrupp Elevator Corp., the Star-Telegram reviewed hundreds of pages of documents.
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After a nurse at Fort Worth’s John Peter Smith Hospital was seriously injured in an elevator maintained by Thyssenkrupp Elevator Corp., the Star-Telegram reviewed hundreds of pages of documents.

An Arlington woman has filed a lawsuit against John Peter Smith Hospital and Thyssenkrupp Elevators, saying she was injured while riding an elevator in September 2017.

Patricia Price was in the hospital main building, at 1500 S. Main St., when she entered an elevator on the fourth floor of the hospital, according to the lawsuit.

While standing in the elevator, she was “violently jolted by the abrupt falling then stopping of the elevator.”

She was taken to JPS’s emergency room for treatment of injuries to her neck and back, which are permanent, according to the lawsuit, which was written by her attorney Tommy J. Fisher.

The lawsuit — which was filed on Monday in Tarrant County District Court — claims that JPS had received prior complaints of the elevator malfunctioning before Price got onto it.

Both JPS and Thyssenkrupp are being sued on the grounds of negligence.

An investigation by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram found that JPS has had issues with their elevators for at least the last year. Then, on Jan. 20, nurse Carren Stratford was seriously injured as she was crushed between two floors while riding elevator No. 29.

The lawsuit filed on Tuesday didn’t say which elevator Price was riding.

Price and Stratford are not the only people who have been injured while riding elevators at JPS.

On May 20, 2018, an elderly person suffered a serious head injury because an elevator in a garage didn’t stop level with the ground. When JPS emailed Thyssenkrupp about the injury, the company responded the next day and said that someone would investigate. The outcome of the inspection was not in the records.

In August 2016, Cardell Davis Sr. was injured when the doors to the elevator he was riding slammed shut on him as he tried to step off of it. He has filed a lawsuit against Thyssenkrupp. It is pending.

“We feel this is part of an ongoing series of incidents that have happened at John Peter Smith with their elevators and we believe that either JPS or Thyssenkrupp should fix these problems immediately and failure to do so puts public at risk,” Fisher said.

Price is seeking between $200,000 and $1 million in damages.

A week before Stratford, 56, was injured, the hospital received a cease-and-desist letter from Thyssenkrupp’s Rick Karnes, the service operations manager for the company’s Fort Worth branch.

The letter, dated Jan. 11 and delivered Jan. 14, strongly urged hospital officials to “stop the dangerous practice of working on and resetting elevators themselves.”

Karnes wrote in the letter that “an elevator is a complicated piece of equipment and, as such, elevator-related repairs performed by untrained individuals can put the safety of these maintenance personnel and the riding public at risk.”

JPS released a statement in response to the letter that said they haven’t repaired any elevators themselves.

Then, on April 11, JPS announced that the hospital hired a new elevator maintenance company after terminating the hospital’s contract with Thyssenkrupp. The Tarrant County Hospital District Board of Managers approved a five-year agreement with SW Elevators Inc.

SW Elevators has agreed to provide two full-time mechanics to service the JPS contract. The company will take over maintenance activities from Thyssenkrupp on May 14.

Representatives from Thyssenkrupp and JPS said they don’t comment on pending litigation.

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