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Dr. Decapitated By Faulty Elevator At St Joseph Hospital
Houston Chronicle ^ | August 17, 2003 | Peggy O'Hare

Posted on 08/17/2003 2:11:14 AM PDT by demkicker

An aspiring missionary doctor, who was voted by medical school classmates as the epitome of a good physician, was killed Saturday at Christus St. Joseph Hospital when an elevator malfunctioned, decapitating him, authorities said.

Hitoshi Nikaidoh, 35, of Dallas, a surgical resident at the hospital at 1919 La Branch, was stepping onto a second-floor elevator in the main building around 9:30 a.m. when the doors closed, pinning his shoulders, said Harold Jordan, an investigator with the Harris County Medical Examiner's Office. The elevator car then moved upward, severing the doctor's head, Jordan said.

"It is an unexpected and tragic loss," said Dr. Hisashi Nikaidoh, Hitoshi's father, from his Dallas area home. "He is an outgoing and very caring person."

A woman who also works at the hospital was on the elevator at the time and witnessed the accident, police said. Because of the malfunction, she was trapped on the elevator for 15 or 20 minutes before firefighters were able to reach her, police said.

The woman was not injured, but was later taken to the emergency room because she was in shock, said Sgt. Kenneth Perkins of the Houston Police Department's Special Operations Division.

Nikaidoh was on duty at the time and wearing his doctor coat and surgical scrubs when the accident happened, Jordan said.

The scene was one of chaos when police and firefighters first arrived at the hospital, Perkins said. Medical personnel were in disbelief, some crying.

"They were trying to console one another. Just to see other people in disarray -- the looks on their faces pretty much told the whole story," he said.

Police have launched an investigation into the accident. St. Joseph Hospital officials have taken the entire elevator bank out of service, but normal patient services have not been interrupted.

Hospital officials would not answer any questions Saturday about the accident since the investigation has just begun. They also would not reveal the name of the elevator manufacturer.

One worker at the hospital said there had been problems in the past with these particular elevators and that maintenance crews had been trying to service them in the past week, Perkins said.

Nikaidoh was a member of the 2003 class of the University of Texas-Houston Medical School, where he previously served as Student InterCouncil President, the student-leader over six schools within the medical center.

He became a devout Christian while in medical school, his father said. He became a youth group leader and decided to become a missionary doctor.

Hospital spokeswoman India Chumney Hancock would not discuss Nikaidoh's background or how long he had been with the hospital. "In respect for the family, we're not giving out any information," she said Saturday.

"Since the investigation has just begun, we're not answering any questions at this time," she said.

Both city and state inspectors will review the fatal accident, said a licensed elevator inspector who served on the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation Department advisory board.

"Annual inspections are required, and I'm familiar with that hospital building and know they have a contracted (maintenance) company," said Alan Van Nort, a member of the state's Elevators, Escalators and Related Equipment Advisory Board.

Van Nort said he also is familiar with another hospital elevator accident earlier this year that injured 14 passengers, including 12 patients, at the Intracare Hospital in the Texas Medical Center area. The elevator dropped several floors before jerking to a stop and broke several passengers' bones and hurt backs and necks.

But hospital elevators are not inspected any more intensely than office building elevators, Van Nort said.

"The city has primary responsibility for inspections, and then reports of any incident go to the state for review," he said.

Mignette Yvonne Dorsey, spokeswoman for the City of Houston Building Services, said the city would be tracking the inspections done by the City Planning Department's inspectors. But there was no specific inspection information available from the city Saturday night.


TOPICS: Front Page News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: decapitation; elevator; fifthseal; hospital; houston; leftbehind; maintenance; prophetic; revelation69; texas
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Elevator alert!
1 posted on 08/17/2003 2:11:15 AM PDT by demkicker
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To: demkicker
EECH! Didn't this happen in "Resident Evil"?

"Damien: Omen 2"?

2 posted on 08/17/2003 2:13:17 AM PDT by RandallFlagg ("There are worse things than crucifixion...There are teeth.")
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To: demkicker
How bizarre! This has been a week of freaky death stories.
3 posted on 08/17/2003 2:15:43 AM PDT by Flyer (If you can read this you are posting too close)
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To: demkicker
Paging Rosalind Shays...
4 posted on 08/17/2003 2:16:36 AM PDT by Timesink
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To: Flyer
A woman who also works at the hospital was on the elevator at the time and witnessed the accident, police said. Because of the malfunction, she was trapped on the elevator for 15 or 20 minutes before firefighters were able to reach her, police said.

Heard on the radio that this woman was in hysterics for those 15 to 20 minutes as the poor doctor's head was rolling around the floor of the elevator!

I can't imagine the horror of witnessing such a tragic and gruesome event. It's shocking enough just to read about it.
5 posted on 08/17/2003 2:27:17 AM PDT by demkicker ((I wanna kick some commie butt))
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To: demkicker
Barring a freak accident the elevators would have to be severely neglected to get into a condition that this would happen. If this is the case then I would recommend not using this hospital at all because this is the least of their problems. We have Otis and (Thyssen)Dover in every week to safety check and maintain the elevators in the hospital where I work and thye also have 24/7 on-call service.
6 posted on 08/17/2003 2:28:12 AM PDT by this_ol_patriot
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To: Nettie
Pinging the Amazing Kreskin... you were right, it IS an epidemic!

I feel lots sorrier for this fella, though, and the poor woman stuck in the elevator...
7 posted on 08/17/2003 2:30:39 AM PDT by Tamzee (I was a vegetarian until I started leaning toward the sunlight...... Rita Rudner)
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To: Flyer
Heads are gonna roll!
8 posted on 08/17/2003 2:31:49 AM PDT by joanil
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To: demkicker
I worked at a place where this happened to a maintenance man a long time ago. It was my misfortune to have an office facing the freight elevator doors on the floor below. Not a sight one ever forgets....
9 posted on 08/17/2003 2:35:25 AM PDT by Leroy S. Mort
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To: this_ol_patriot
Don't worry, St. Joseph's isn't on my "A" list of hospitals in Houston. The fact that they've been having trouble with the elevators and they were worked on last week spells HUGE negligence.

And after reading this, I'll not try to jump on and beat the closing doors of elevators ever again!
10 posted on 08/17/2003 2:38:03 AM PDT by demkicker ((I wanna kick some commie butt))
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To: demkicker
spells HUGE negligence

I think it spells Tough, Smart Lawyer.

11 posted on 08/17/2003 2:40:32 AM PDT by Flyer (If you can read this you are posting too close)
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To: demkicker
Dry cleaners hate it when this happens.
12 posted on 08/17/2003 2:41:51 AM PDT by Ronin (Qui tacet consentit!)
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To: demkicker
As for that maintenance man he probably had the safeties disabled and older freights probably don't have the safety factor as commercial elevators. I work in maintenance but don't have in depth knowledge of the elevators but as far I can see you have the pressure safety on the edge of the door, a set electronic beams and a switch has to be made by full closure of the door BEFORE the elevator will operate. We sometimes have the opposite problem here where food service or patient transport knock a door out of alignment slightly and the elevator won't work at all.
13 posted on 08/17/2003 2:44:41 AM PDT by this_ol_patriot
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To: Flyer
I think it spells Tough, Smart Lawyer.

Indeed... The article doesn't mention his family. Wondering if he was married or had kids. Hope not...
14 posted on 08/17/2003 2:47:49 AM PDT by demkicker ((I wanna kick some commie butt))
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To: this_ol_patriot
As for that maintenance man he probably had the safeties disabled

The elevator had a small window in each of the doors on all floors. There was a button to ring to call the elevator. The button wasn't working on that floor and as a consequence, someone had knocked out the window so they could hear if the elevator was moving. The guy stuck his head in the window to see where the elevator was. Unfortunately for him, it was on the floor above him..moving down. You can imagine the rest of the story..

15 posted on 08/17/2003 2:55:24 AM PDT by Leroy S. Mort
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To: demkicker
As an employee of a Baylor Hospital here in DFW, I would not suggest using the one in Houston either. They are major penny pinchers. Baylor only takes care of their equipment when something goes wrong. When Baylor takes over a hospital they cut all contracts(doctors and service) and then never order any preventive maintaince or annual checks.
16 posted on 08/17/2003 2:57:33 AM PDT by neb52
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To: Leroy S. Mort
Oh my lord.
17 posted on 08/17/2003 2:58:31 AM PDT by this_ol_patriot
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To: demkicker
One worker at the hospital said there had been problems in the past with these particular elevators and that maintenance crews had been trying to service them in the past week, Perkins said.

Piss poor maintenance imho.

Either the elevator is safe for use or it isn't. Tagging it out until it was fixed should have been the only option.

18 posted on 08/17/2003 3:02:50 AM PDT by csvset
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To: neb52
When Baylor takes over a hospital they cut all contracts(doctors and service) and then never order any preventive maintaince or annual checks.

This tragic event may prompt a change in their penny pinching policy. Preventive maintenance would have been a drop in the bucket compared to what they'll be hit with in upcoming lawsuits.
19 posted on 08/17/2003 3:09:36 AM PDT by demkicker ((I wanna kick some commie butt))
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To: demkicker
Just wait until someone tells her that if she had hit the emergancy stop he might have lived...
20 posted on 08/17/2003 3:15:47 AM PDT by DB ()
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