Home > Article from newspaper > Man spends night stuck in elevator with no emergency call button

Man spends night stuck in elevator with no emergency call button

July 16, 2007

An LSU Hospital employee who is both deaf and mute spent the night stuck in an elevator that also had a malfunctioning emergency call button. The man — who had no food, water or toilet facility — was found safe after 16 hours in the service elevator.

Hospital officials are refusing to identify the employee, who got stuck late Sunday afternoon and was found Monday morning. Concerned employees put up flyers around the hospital and his supervisor and co-workers paged and hunted for him before a crew doing routine elevator service found him.

The man was in a part of the hospital where he normally doesn’t work when he he went missing, a hospital spokeswoman said.

“He was not responding to his pages,” Elaine King said. “They had looked for him, but for whatever reason there was no notification to university police.”

No matter how many times he pressed the elevator alarm button to call for help, he wasn’t heard.

King said emergency crews were getting an alert that someone was trapped in an elevator, but the elevator they were checking was empty.

“Apparently there was some mis-wiring of the elevator,” King said of the malfunctioning elevator where the man was stuck. “It is still being determined exactly how that could occur.”

An internal investigation into why the man’s co-workers didn’t notify university police to get more people looking for him is being conducted, King said. He wasn’t hurt but was given the next day off. King said the hospital’s administration, including his supervisor, formally apologized.


  1. JustJodi
    July 16, 2007 at 9:59 am

    Wow a whole day off ??? poor guy… I would be traumaticized !!! I do not have claustrophobia but after 16 hours in an elevator,, heck yea !!! No potty no water no food and an emergency button that does not work,, sheeeshhhhh… Just glad the guy was not hurt

  2. July 16, 2007 at 11:17 am

    The hospital will be lucky if the poor fellow doesn’t file a lawsuit against them and throws the whole book in the process: unlawful imprisonment, duress, psychological trauma, torts, etc.

    What would have prevented this long entrapment would be a two-way pager instead of a simple pager as the article mentioned. He could then notify them of the situation and his location.

    Many public buildings have traps: locked doors in stairwells, closed corridors, locked doors after certain hours. Two way pagers would be lifesavers in those situations, especially with heightened security in these post-911 days.

  3. Cy
    July 16, 2007 at 8:53 pm


    2 way pdas or pagers often do not work in a closed space such as evalators. Something about an interference or blockage from the wireless towers that cut off in certain areas such as highway underpasses, certain buildings, malls, movie theaters and evalators.

    What would work for everyone is a video feed into the evalators along with speakers to communicate with the trapped riders. Maintenance is also essential – apparently in this case, the malfunction of the emergency button went unnoticed, an obvious indicator of lack of maitenance on the maintenance crew’s part.

    False imprisonment, I dont think that will fly, but the guy certainly can use for personal injury in form of psychological trauma, injury to the bladder, and dehydration due to negligence on the part of the company or whoever is responsible for overseeing the maintenance of the elevators. Punitive damages in a civil court.

  4. October 15, 2007 at 2:29 pm

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