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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Nurse injured in JPS accident files lawsuit against elevator maintenance firm

A Fort Worth nurse who was seriously injured by a JPS Hospital elevator has filed a negligence lawsuit against Thyssenkrupp Elevator Co., charging that the company failed to perform routine maintenance that would have prevented the January 2019 tragedy.

According to the lawsuit filed by The Law Offices of Frank L. Branson, 56-year-old Carren Stratford was seriously injured when the brakes failed on the hospital elevator. Her body was trapped between the doors as the elevator rose, crushing her. Ms. Stratford was unable to breathe and suffered an anoxic brain injury before she could be rescued. More than six months after the tragedy, she remains a patient in a brain injury rehabilitation facility.

“This is a tragedy in every sense because these horrible injuries were 100 percent preventable,” said attorney Frank Branson of The Law Offices of Frank L. Branson. “Had Thyssenkrupp simply performed the routine maintenance work as promised, Ms. Stratford would be caring for her family and serving the community at JPS Hospital like she was before this terrible event.”

An examination of hospital and other records reveals chronic problems with elevators at a Fort Worth hospital where a nurse was seriously hurt after stepping onto an elevator that continued to move, according to a review by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The review found at least 80 work orders were issued after complaints of people being trapped in elevators at John Peter Smith Hospital from January 2018 to January of this year.

Hospital executives say the elevator maintenance contractor, Thyssenkrupp Elevators, has been unresponsive to their concerns.

But Thyssenkrupp contends the hospital has amplified problems by having hospital workers conduct repairs rather than the contractor.

An investigation by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation blamed the incident on brake failure caused by a lack of routine maintenance and equipment checks. Additionally, investigators reported no visible signs that the machinery had been lubricated as required.

The lawsuit seeks monetary damages of at least $1 million for damages including medical expenses, physical impairment, physical pain and suffering and mental anguish. The case is In Re Carren Stratford, cause No. 017-308007-19 in the 17th District Court in Tarrant County.

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