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Project Highlight – VAMC Bronx (James J. Peters) Ceiling Lift Investigation

By April 12, 2023No Comments3 min read

The VAMC Bronx, also referred to as the James J. Peters VA Medical Center, has a history dating back to the Revolutionary War.  Being the highest point in New York City, it was a strategic vantage point, and served as British “Fort Number 6” between 1777 and 1779.  In the late 1800’s, it belonged to the Sisters of Charity of New York, who turned it into the Bronx Roman Catholic Orphan Asylum.  The hospital was opened as United Veteran’s Hospital No. 18 in 1922, making it the oldest VA facility in New York City.  By the 1970’s the original hospital had deteriorated to the point that it needed to be rebuilt.  In 2005 the hospital was renamed after James J. Peters, a US Army Veteran who founded several organizations to address the needs of spinal cord injury patients and served as the executive director of the United Spinal Association for more than thirty years.

Encorus Group was contacted to perform a root cause analysis on a trolley-mounted ceiling lift unit that had failed in the spinal cord injury / disorder department.  This unit was used to lift and transfer patients between locations, such as a bed, wheelchair, or stretcher.  After the failure, two similar lifts were taken out of service as a precautionary measure.

As part of the analysis, Encorus Group was provided with three working units that matched the make and model of the unit that failed.  The manufacturer concurrently tested the failed unit.   Non-destructive testing was performed on each of the lift units, including visual inspection, radiographic examination of the lifting strap to identify the condition of internal strap wires, functional testing of units to observe motion and verify function of components, and disassembly and inspection of internal components to verify that there were no broken or distorted pieces. Encorus also performed destructive testing on the units, including pull testing until failure at the drum end and the lift yoke end of each strap to determine its ultimate strength at each location.

Encorus was not able to identify a likely cause for the failure observed, or any flaw in the design or manufacture of the units inspected and tested. The analysis did highlight the need to properly maintain and inspect units in service, with particular attention paid on the hoist limit switch components.

This project utilized the knowledge of our engineering design, mechanical integrity, and non-destructive testing groups.  If you have a similar issue and would like to utilize Encorus Group’s collective knowledge to solve it, contact Client Relationship Manager Mike O’Neill at 716.592.3980, ext. 155 or