Fort Worth

7 JPS elevators out of service in the last week after checks by contractor, CEO says

The CEO of John Peter Smith Hospital has penned a letter to the corporation that oversees maintenance of the hospital’s elevators saying it “may have failed to live up to its service and maintenance obligations” at JPS after an employee was seriously injured.

The employee was injured last week on one of the purple Patient Tower elevators when it was stopped at the 10th floor, according to CEO Robert Earley. The hospital hasn’t said how the injury occurred and has declined to release an update on the employee’s condition. Three minutes after police received the call, the employee was out of the elevator and CPR was underway.

No one else was on the elevator at the time. The elevator is also used to carry patients.

On Monday, the hospital released a letter that Earley wrote to Pete Engwer, the regional president of ThyssenKrupp Elevator Corporation.

According to the letter, ThyssenKrupp services all JPS elevators.

“Part of your obligations under the Agreement is to provide monthly maintenance and inspections, which includes riding each elevator and checking and inspecting its operation, safety edges, sensing devices, floor stops and leveling, and brake operations,” Earley wrote in the letter. “ThyssenKrupp is also required to periodically examine all safety devices and adjust, repair, or replace them as necessary. ThyssenKrupp is further required to provide records of its maintenance and service obligations.

“Sadly, it appears your company is not ‘owning it’ and may have failed to live up to its service and maintenance obligations here at JPS,” Earley continued. “Even more concerning is your company’s seeming indifference following our team member’s injury last Sunday.”

Earley said that in the past week, the hospital has had “more unexpected elevator outages, just days after your service personnel were onsite checking every elevator.”

On Friday, seven elevators were out of service.

“During this critical time, only one of your technicians was available to perform repairs,” Earley wrote.

“This is unacceptable and jeopardizes the safety of our patients and team members,” he continued. “As the medical home for thousands of patients, the sole Level 1 Trauma Center and the only psychiatric emergency room in Tarrant County, JPS deserves better. Our patients and team members deserve better.”

Earley said in the letter than JPS is moving to retain experts with resources to provide oversight and quality control. The hospital’s legal team has also contacted ThyssenKrupp, the letter says.

In an emailed statement to the Star-Telegram, ThyssenKrupp spokesman Dennis Van Milligen said, “First and foremost on our minds is the wellbeing and recovery of the JPS Hospital employee injured on January 20, 2019. We are working closely with the hospital and the state in connection with this matter. The elevators underwent an annual state inspection by a qualified elevator inspector in March and April of 2018. Thyssenkrupp also performed a walk-through and inspection on January 20, 2019, of the elevators on the hospital’s campus at JPS’s request. The elevators were found to be operating correctly and in a safe manner. We are continuing to work with JPS to ensure the highest level of responsiveness and service of its elevators.”

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