Elevator company warned JPS Hospital to stop repairing elevators themselves

Image 1 of 2

The elevator service company accused of negligence by John Peter Smith Hospital now says it wants to set the record straight.

Thyssenkrupp says there have been misstatements and mischaracterizations of its response to elevator malfunctions at the Fort Worth hospital.

The CEO of JPS publicly criticized the company last week in response to an elevator accident in January that severely injured a hospital nurse.

Nurse Carren Stratford is making slight improvements after the Jan. 20 elevator crash.

The hospital and elevator company are in a legal back and forth over who is responsible for the accident.

Thyssenkrupp Elevator came out defending itself on Thursday with a letter it says it sent to JPS on January 11. It was a warning that ordered the hospital to stop hospital maintenance employees from "working on or resetting" the elevators in question.

The letter states: "...we strongly urge you to take whatever steps necessary to immediately discontinue this practice, including but not limited to communicating with all of your maintenance personnel that such actions are and will continue to be strictly prohibited."

That same letter also said the hospital would be liable for any incident, including personal injury resulting from work performed by anyone other than a Thyssenkrupp technician.

MORE: JPS Health Network CEO criticizes elevator company

Last week, JPS administrators expressed their frustrations with Thyssenkrupp over the elevator malfunction that injured Stratford.

“The one thing we're not is elevator experts,” said Robert Earley, CEO of JPS Health Network. “We do trauma care, cancer care, clinic care. We are not elevator experts. You hire elevator experts, and we thought we had elevator experts.”

The certified letter receipt shows the letter was delivered to JPS on Jan. 14.

In a letter to JPS employees responding to Thyssenkrupp's allegations, Earley insisted JPS never repairs elevators, but does help when people are trapped.

“What would you have us do, wait minutes, sometimes hours for TKE workers to show up?” Earley wrote in a statement. “There is nothing in the contract JPS has with TKE that prevents us from responding appropriately when someone is trapped inside an elevator.”

Stratford's attorney confirmed on Thursday that she is out of ICU and in what the hospital calls a “step down” unit where she's able to undergo more therapy.

MORE: Nurse injured in elevator accident at JPS Hospital moved from ICU

She's suffered a brain injury, internal injuries, and has already undergone several surgeries.

Last week, Stratford's attorneys had profusely thanked JPS for their handling of the incident. FOX 4 reached out after Thyssenkrupp released the letter critical of JPS to find out their feelings on it, but we have not heard back.