Just returned from the hospital after a nasty accident with an automatic door at our local Toys R Us store. The door closed on me just as I was trying to enter the store. It knocked me down off my canes, and I fell on my head. I was bleeding a great deal and my head was spinning.
Some very good people came to my aid and called an ambulance. Many of the people who gathered round shook their heads in dismay, once they realized that the doors had just knocked down someone with a disability. They found me lying on the concrete in a bloody mess with my two canes astride. Everyone was so very thoughtful and kind, including the store managers and staff. If any of you happen to find this site, I want to say thank you for being so helpful. Marco, you gave us such good advice. Went to l’Hopital Maisonneuve-Rosemount as you suggested, and was given prompt and courteous attention.
Fortunately it wasn’t too serious. Just a nasty bump and cut that didn’t require stitches. Diagnosis was mild cranial trauma. If nothing else happens, I can consider myself fortunate. It could have been far worse. It could have even happened to a grandparent or toddler.
Those of you who know me know I have some mobility problems which I’ll hopefully recover from someday. But I wanted to share with you what I found online about automatic doors and the danger they can pose to vulnerable populations. Those doors should be regularly maintained, checked and adjusted. Please spread the word about the danger of automatic doors.
The Danger of Automatic Doors
Automatic doors, they can be found everywhere from the shopping mall to the hospital emergency room. We take for granted the convenience that they offer us- opening automatically when our arms are full of packages. What few of us realize, however, is the danger involved in using automatic doors.
At least 3,500 people were seriously injured by automatic doors last year. They have the ability to close on us, pinch our fingers, pin us in, hit us in the face, and knock us down. Catching us unaware, automatic doors can be quite brutal.
Automatic doors consist of several “systems” that open door panels by sliding or swinging them upon activation. Every automatic sliding door manufacturer uses the same basic design.
Sensors detect moving people, opening and closing the doors accordingly. The problem develops because many of these sensors have trouble detecting slow-moving people such as the elderly or handicapped. Also, depending on what you are wearing, the sensor might not notice you.
According to the American Association of Automatic Door Manufacturers, doors must be maintained, checked and adjusted regularly. If a door is not in peak condition, injury could result. By realizing that a danger does exist, we can be more careful when use automatic doors.
The following photos are all courtesy of my husband.
Above photo is of the Toys R Us store where I was injured, with the automatic doors that I won’t soon be forgetting.
The back of my injured head, not a pretty sight. Bleeding did stop, but I do have a cut and bump. Marco, a very nice man at the scene, told us that since the head is so vascular (lots of arteries), even a small cut can cause a great deal of bleeding. The ambulance technicians said that the hair on our head acts as a bandage when there is an injury.
And finally, where my head struck the pavement. They removed most of the blood, but some still remains.
The doctor who examined me said I seemed fine, but if any of the following problems develops, should return to emergency – vomiting more than twice, confusion, having difficulty awakening, loss of consciousness.
Their insurance company, who should be paying for the cost of the ambulance, requests to see me in three weeks to find out how I’m doing. I’ll take the opportunity to inform him about the potential danger automatic doors can be. I’ll also try to make sure more people know about this.
Update: We just saw the insurance agent, and he was very helpful and understanding. He told us the automatic doors close after just 3 seconds of not noticing any activity. There is a sign about the potential risk of automatic doors, but only on the exit side, not the entrance. And he noticed the incline to the store, which did slow me down when I was trying to enter it, and did throw me off balance when the doors closed on me. The incline also made it more likely that I would fall hard on my head.
I told him if I’d have known, I would have chosen a regular door, but he said it was the only one available. I’ll never go to another Toys R Us store again.
My husband told him he was surprised there were no security monitors outside to record what had happened. It would have been better to capture that on film. Make more of an impression on the people who should be making some necessary changes.