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Lift horror in Chinsurah hospital

A runaway elevator at a government hospital in Chinsurah on Friday critically injured a patient on a trolley stretcher as it moved up with its inner doors open.

The ordeal stopped two floors above when guards at Chinsurah Imambara Sadar Hospital, about 47km from Calcutta, switched off the mains supplying power to the elevator.

“The part of the stretcher towards the exit hit the top edge of the lift and went into the narrow gap between the concrete shaft and the capsule. The other end of the stretcher jutted up like a see-saw, sliding the patient towards the outer concrete wall. All along from the ground to the second floor, patient Basanti Chatterjee kept scraping against the wall,” an eyewitness said.

The guards pulled Basanti out of the lift after breaking the iron netting between the lift shaft and the staircase on the second floor.

She suffered multiple injuries — mostly cuts on shoulders, thighs, knees and a fractured toe.

“She has a fracture on her left toe and it appears her right knee joint too met the same fate. There are lacerations all over her shoulders and thighs and a deep cut on her forehead,” said Prakash Samanata, a doctor at the 100-bedded Hooghly hospital.

Basanti of Pandua’s Chandpur village was admitted to the hospital’s female surgery ward on June 19 after the trekker she was travelling in on her way home was hit by a tractor. Son Abhijit, a commerce graduate, said she has been the family’s sole earner since his father became bedridden from an ailment.

The woman was wheeled into the operating theatre soon after the rescue and shifted to the intensive care unit an hour later.

“She had suffered a hairline fracture on a toe in the tractor accident. I would have discharged her within a day. She was complaining of abdominal pain and so I had asked her to get a USG done,” Samanta said.

Accordingly, she was put on a trolley stretcher on Friday morning and taken to ground floor radiology lab. “Around 11 am, she was on her way back to her ward… she was lying on the trolley with her legs facing the door. Even before I could step in, the outer doors closed and the lift moved up,” Abhijit told Metro.

PWD engineers said the trolley possibly rolled out on its wheels and got stuck in the space between the two doors.

“As a portion of the trolley jutted out, it tilted on one side. The woman would have landed on the lift’s floor but somehow got stuck in the space between the trolley and its guardrails,” said an engineer. “Since she was hanging precariously, the lower part of her body and the hands kept hitting the uneven walls of the lift-pit.”

The engineers couldn’t explain the cause of the malfunction. “There is an electrical and a mechanical lock on each of the two doors. If any of the gates are left open, the electrical circuit breaks and the lift stops. Since it moved with the inner doors open, it seems the mechanical lock has been compromised with,” one of them said.

“The lift was not maintained properly,” he added.