Update: State Inspectors Examining Elevator at Decatur-Morgan Hospital After Fatal Incident

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DECATUR, Ala. (WHNT) - An employee at the Decatur Morgan Hospital Decatur campus died Wednesday evening after an accident involving a freight elevator, according to Decatur Morgan Hospital President Nat Richardson.

Decatur Police identify Michael "Dewayne" Atkins, 41, as the victim.

Investigators say a call came in at 6:45 p.m. about a person who was involved in an accident with an elevator on the 8th Street side of the hospital, near the ER entrance.  When they got there, they found Atkins pinned under the elevator.  His co-workers had found him there.

"We are deeply saddened at the loss of one of our own," Richardson told WHNT News 19 from the scene Wednesday.

Decatur Morgan Hospital is working with police, but does not plan to release any additional information.

Investigators say they sent Atkins' body to the Huntsville Alabama Department of Forensic Science for an autopsy.  However, it was transferred to Montgomery since examiners in Huntsville only handle homicide cases.  Investigators are awaiting results to determine if there were any other factors that might have contributed to Atkins' death.

The events that led to his death are still under investigation.

Decatur-Morgan Hospital Spokeswoman Leigh Hays said Atkins started working at Parkway Medical Center in 2011 and quickly made a lot of friends.

This week, the hospital staff had been celebrating the first anniversary of the merger of Parkway Medical Center, Decatur General, and Huntsville Hospitals and had various fun activities planned.

In light of the fatal incident, all employee celebrations were cancelled.  Hays said there is a grassroots campaign started by employees to do something in Atkins' honor.

Meanwhile, inspectors from the Alabama Department of Labor are in Decatur examining the freight elevator involved.  A spokesperson for that department said records show the elevator's certification was current.

Hays confirmed all of the elevators in the hospital go through inspections and are currently up to code.  She said the freight elevator involved moves from the first floor to the second floor and is used by staffers only to move supplies in and out, but not patients.

Decatur Police also notified the Occupational Health and Safety Administration.


  • Heather

    My daughter had a baby there almost 6 months ago. The facility was a little older, but everything was clean and nothing looked in disrepair. The staff was incredible and I sending my thoughts and prayers to them as well as Mr. Atkins’ family.

  • Itsme

    In the last eight years one of my parents has been in and out of the hospital. I have taken them to the er at both hospitals in Decatur many times. They have spent weeks in both also with me there with them. Parkway is better than decatur general in several ways. In other ways decatur general is better. But parkway has never seemed run down to me at all. If I got shot or seriously hurt I would want to go to decatur general. They handle more trauma. But heart attack, stroke, or lesser problems parkway would be my choice. At decatur general lesser problems fall through the cracks. My heart goes out to this man’s family and friends. Know knows what happened but things like this are awful on loved ones.

  • Jennifer Cobb

    I currently work at parkway and had the pleasure of knowing Dewayne and calling him my friend. He was a truly beautiful person and will be severely missed. His family is in my thoughts and I hope the hospitals do right by him to his family

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