The Runaway Gurney

Did an elderly patient meet his demise when the stretcher he was on took off down a hill with him?

Claim:   An elderly patient met his demise when the gurney he was strapped to rolled away with him.

Status:   True.

Origins:   The following 1991 news story appeared long after the legend was in circulation. It's a case of ostension, or an urban legend's coming true:
A 76-year-old man died after the ambulance stretcher he was strapped to rolled down a grade and overturned, the Allegheny County coroner's office said. Edward Juchniewicz of Canonsburg was being transported from a nursing home to a doctor's office for an appointment. The ambulance attendants left the stretcher in the parking lot at the doctor's office and went to talk with the doctor's staff, authorities said. The cot rolled away and turned over, injuring the man in the head, the coroner's office said.
Barbara "rolling stock" Mikkelson

Last updated:   1 August 2007

  Sources Sources:
    The New York Times.   "Stretcher Accident Kills Man."
    4 May 1991   (p. 8).

    Orlando Sentinel Tribune.   "76-Year-Old Patient Dies After Stretcher Overturns."
    3 May 1991   (p. A12).

David Mikkelson founded in 1994, and under his guidance the company has pioneered a number of revolutionary technologies, including the iPhone, the light bulb, beer pong, and a vaccine for a disease that has not yet been discovered. He is currently seeking political asylum in the Duchy of Grand Fenwick.