Sliding door mishap results in lawsuit

By Thomas Wilson
STAR STAFF
twilson@starhq.com
A county woman has sued a facility of Mountain States Health Alliance seeking $750,000 damages for injuries she alleges occurred when an automatic sliding door struck her last January.
Filed in Carter County Circuit Court, the lawsuit names Mountain States Health Alliance facility Sycamore Shoals Hospital as the defendant. Attorney David W. Bush of Elizabethton filed the suit on behalf of Maude P. Simerly of Elizabethton.
According to the lawsuit, Simerly was at Sycamore Shoals Hospital on Jan. 21, 2003 to receive service at the hospital's Radiology Department.
Simerly and her daughter were leaving the hospital at the front entrance where two sliding glass doors allow patients to move in and out. Simerly's daughter went through the second door to retrieve her automobile and bring it to the door of the facility, the suit said.
When Simerly's daughter pulled under the covered loading zone, Simerly, was struck by the second automatic door while she was walking out with the help of a walker. The door knocked the walker away from her and she fell backwards, according to the lawsuit.
The fall resulted in Simerly sustaining "serious, permanent and disabling" injuries, the suit said. Simerly suffered a broken hip and multiple bruises over much of her body. She underwent emergency surgery to repair the hip fracture.
The lawsuit alleges negligence on behalf of the hospital for failing to maintain the automatic sliding door. Simerly has incurred medical bills in excess of $71,600 and is expected to undergo further treatment and medical care in the future, according to the suit. She is seeking $750,000 in compensatory damages and a jury trial to hear the case.
Sycamore Shoals Hospital was dropped from another lawsuit earlier this month. Judge Jean Stanley signed an order of dismissal on Jan. 5 in a lawsuit brought against the hospital and Dr. Steven May by Charles and Reva Henson last year. The Hensons' attorney filed a motion requesting a voluntary dismissal in December. The Hensons had filed the suit against the hospital alleging negligence in the treatment Reva Henson had received.