Dropped mitten causes temporary entrapment for man in hospital elevator

by Keith Corcoran

Hospital visits have their share of ups and downs but, through no fault of his own, a man's attendance came to a temporary standstill on the fourth floor of the Bridgewater hospital.

A mitten was accidentally dropped onto the elevator track that allows the door to open and close, according to Nova Scotia Health Authority spokeswoman Theresa Hawkesworth. Before the person could pick it up the door closed on it and he couldn't pull it free.

The January 14 incident caused a safety mechanism to kick-in, prompting the elevator to stay in place and its doors to remain shuttered. The unit came to a halt near a nurses' station on the floor that's home to maternal and child health services and an inpatient medical unit.

Hawkesworth said the visitor dialled 911 instead of using the elevator phone. The Bridgewater volunteer fire department was summoned to South Shore Regional Hospital, off Glen Allan Drive, during the noon hour.

"No one at the site was even aware of the situation until the firefighters arrived," Hawkesworth told LighthouseNOW.

She didn't know how long the man was trapped in the elevator. Michael Nauss, chief of the Bridgewater fire department, did not return phone calls requesting comment for this story.

Chances are the person could have been freed faster if they used the elevator phone first, Hawkesworth indicated, but pointed out she understands people will turn to readily available smartphones, which can allow for a quick 911 call in a pinch. She said better promotion of the convenience of the elevator phone may be needed.

A key was used to open the door and free the person. The mitten was removed and the elevator went back into service. No one was hurt.

The Bridgewater hospital has three elevators that, as of at the time of the incident, were all publicly accessible. The issue happened while the person was on one of the older elevators and not the new $1.4 million unit installed last year.

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