Maintenance Records Shed More Light on Elevator Concerns at JPS Hospital

A full incident report on the accident was not included in the thousands of pages of maintenance records obtained by NBC 5

When a hospital employee was seriously injured in an elevator accident last month, officials with John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth offered few details about what led up to the accident. But a brief entry in a maintenance log provided to NBC 5 matched previously released details, and offered a glimpse into what may have occurred when an employee was hurt Jan. 20 on an elevator in the main hospital building.

It says a passenger was crushed by an elevator between the 10th and 11th floors.

A full incident report on the accident was not included in the thousands of pages of maintenance records obtained by NBC 5 through the Texas Public Information Act.

On Wednesday, the hospital responded to NBC 5's records request with work orders for the hospital's elevators, information about inspections and the hospital's agreement with thyssenkrupp Elevator Corporation -- the company contracted to provide maintenance and service to elevators at JPS.

NBC 5 reviewed the nearly 13 months of work orders dated from a period that began Jan. 2, 2018 and ended Jan. 30, 2019.

The work orders showed at least 30 reports of people trapped in elevators. One work order was requested because a doctor reported elevators moved from floor to floor with its doors open.

Other calls for service showed people requested maintenance for doors that opened and closed improperly, including one elevator that was shut down when a mother was separated from her children because the elevator doors closed too quickly. The work order description said it took five minutes to reunite the family members.

JPS Hospital did not respond to NBC 5's request for additional information on Wednesday, however they did reply on Thursday and shared a letter sent by CEO Robert Early to thyssenkrupp Elevator Corporation on Feb. 13.

Wednesday, thyssenkrupp Elevator Corporation emailed a statement to NBC 5.

“First and foremost, our focus remains on the wellbeing and recovery of the injured JPS employee. Elevator entrapments and other service disruptions can occur for a variety of reasons, including building and user issues not related to the upkeep of the equipment itself. But any issue must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, and it would be irresponsible for us to comment without reviewing each incident in question. The elevators at JPS Hospital passed inspection within the last year and any issues have been remediated in a timely fashion.

Unfortunately, JPS has kept us in the dark on the details associated with this incident, despite numerous requests for information. It is highly unusual for a customer to not only withhold this type of important information from its elevator service provider, but to express any partnership concerns through the media before contacting us.

Moving forward, thyssenkrupp Elevator will continue to conduct itself with the utmost integrity and professionalism, and keep the focus where it belongs – on why this employee was injured and what can be done to ensure this never happens in the future.”

Previously, the hospital released a letter Earley sent to the thysssenkrupp, company contracted to service and maintain the elevators, saying the tragedy surrounding the worker who was hurt and elevator outages since the accident had impacted the hospital's ability to care for the community.

In the letter, dated Jan. 29, Earley wrote the elevator company, "may have failed to live up to its service and maintenance obligations here at JPS." You can read the full letter here.

Below, read two letters that JPS Hospital CEO Robert Earley sent to thyssenkrupp Elevator Corporation.

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