Emergency raises concerns about safety of dorm elevator

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    A relatively small Colby Hall elevator wasn’t the reason paramedics chose to treat their patient on the third floor Thursday, rather than transporting him elsewhere, a MedStar representative said.But freshman Kristin Partyka, the man’s daughter, said she was worried that if a serious incident occurred and immediate MedStar assistance was needed, someone’s life could be in jeopardy because the stretcher doesn’t fit in the elevator.

    Kristin Partykasaid her father, Scott Partyka, was dropping her off on the third floor when he had a stress-induced seizure. She said it took MedStar paramedics about 35 minutes to arrive and then the stretcher did not fit in the elevator or the stairwell. Kristin Partyka said the paramedics were able to stabilize her father, who has a history of seizures, in her room and that he declined to be taken to the hospital.

    The Colby Hall elevator measures about 70 inches long and 50 inches wide, but MedStar employee Richard Carter said MedStar stretchers measure 80 inches long and 22 inches wide.

    MedStar Operations Supervisor Jeff Popp said even if the elevator was too small to accommodate the stretcher the paramedics are trained to assess situations to assist their patients.

    Craig Allen, residential services director, said the paramedics chose not to transport their patient from the third floor.

    A TCU employee, who witnessed the incident but wanted to remain anonymous, said the paramedics told her they could not get the stretcher in the elevator.

    Allen said the residential elevators are code compliant, meaning the city inspects them annually and they have passed the inspection. He said there is not a problem with stretchers fitting in the elevators and that stretchers have fit in the past.

    Colby Hall director Ele Ford declined to comment on the situation.

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