Aug. 18, 2003 | HOUSTON (AP) -- A surgical resident was killed when an elevator malfunctioned and decapitated him, authorities said.
Hitoshi Nikaidoh, 35, was stepping into a second-floor elevator at Christus St. Joseph Hospital Saturday morning when the doors suddenly closed, pinning his shoulders. His head was severed when the elevator car moved upward.
A hospital employee witnessed the accident and spent about 20 minutes trapped inside the elevator before firefighters rescued her. She was treated for shock in the hospital's emergency room, hospital spokeswoman India Chumney Hancock said.
Harris County medical examiners were conducting an inquiry into the accident. Police said earlier that maintenance crews had worked on the elevators during the week.
The entire elevator bank was pulled from operation until the investigation is complete.
Nikaidoh graduated in 2003 from the University of Texas-Houston Medical School.
Elevators and escalators kill about 30 and injure about 17,100 people each year in the United States, according to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Consumer Product Safety Commission.