Florida Doctor Allegedly Strangled By Neck Massager

Dr. Michelle Ferrari-Gegerson, 37, has died in a bizarre case with product liability implications. Police say that Ferrari-Gegerson was accidentally strangled by a electronic neck massager on Christmas Eve when her necklace got caught in the massager.

Ferrari-Gegerson had just finished the evening wrapping gifts when she decided to use the neck massager.

A previous case of strangulation involved a different product and a case of possible foreseeable misuse. In December 2008, the Matoba Electric Manufacturing Company in Japan recalled the Arubi Shape-Up roller — an electronic foot massager that was implicated in three strangulations of women who used the machine as a neck massager. This is not the only danger of neck massagers.

The police have refused to disclose the make of the neck massager pending the investigation — a decision that could be controversial is another injury occurs. Dr. Ferrari-Gegerson also taught as an associate professor at the University of Miami.

If the neck massager can snare a necklace and cause strangulation, it would appear a likely case for foreseeable misuse as a product liability matter. This danger can be magnified by a product which can lull the user into sleep. If effective in relieving stress or pain, it is foreseeable that someone could doze off if the massager does not require constant or active pressure on a button to stay operative.

Source: Miami Herald

Jonathan Turley

Kudos Mespo for link on other dangers.

17 thoughts on “Florida Doctor Allegedly Strangled By Neck Massager”

  1. Anon nurse, Your encouragement motivated me to give all the kitties a nice vibro-massage last night and they liked it immensely. I have one cat that is very large and overweight and I know his little, overburdened leg joints must give him a problem from the way he has trouble getting up, so he seems to like having his hips massaged. I’ve had him on a diet for quite awhile but he’s not losing much weight. He’s an inherited kitty so I’m trying to remedy the existing problems he came to me with.

  2. Wow….as the New Year is around the corner and my extended health benefits replenish, in addition to recent auto insurance approval for RMT I have an appointment with my massage therapist scheduled next Friday. So much for relaxation during that hour!!

  3. “The cats just LOOOVE to be all vibro-massaged with it too. Obviously, it’s a home remedy we’re going to stop using.” -lottakatz


    🙂 Very funny, lottakatz. Ever do stand up? Now I’m not offering this advice as a nurse — just as any old fool — but I think you could indulge those cats just a little. Just remember to move it around. Don’t stay in the same place too long and, avoid the carotids. Life is too short, as evidenced by this story. Don’t deprive them…

  4. WoW!!!! I love this blawg because I learn something new every day. That link to the case of the stroke being caused by the neck massage to alleviate a headache was an eye-opener. I have one of those hand held massagers and massage my head and neck to get rid of headaches also. The cats just LOOOVE to be all vibro-massaged with it too. Obviously, it’s a home remedy we’re going to stop using.

  5. Well, it’s been another banner year for lab coat lunacy, wouldn’t you say?

    A mere cursory peek at the data over the last 25 years clearly shows that female physicians are responsible for about 2% of all physician-related goofiness. But this year . . . .

    A woman doctor pulls out her handgun at a staff meeting and calmly starts executing her colleagues

    A Texas MD gal is stunned to learn that it’s illegal to write prescriptions for motorized wheelchairs for every single patient

    Two more degreed women are behind bars for injecting fake Botox

    19 convicted in various versions of drug-running

    Four are currently facing trial for murder (if guilty, they’ll join the other 46 – that we know of – already in prison)

    A lady psychiatrist plays Santa Claus in a chimney with tragic results

    And now this.

    I vividly recall the old days, when I was in medical school in San Diego, and we arrived for class one morning to discover one of our favorite instructors had just been convicted of slaughtering his wife & two baby girls.

    And the hits just keep on coming, don’t they?

    But . . . but . . . you’ll dutifully notice that not a single peep of doctor-related shenanigans were mentioned, during the incessant two-year babble called ‘health care reform.’

    Alas, may Michelle Ferrari-Gergerson rest in peace. Because so far as we know, she never hurt anybody but herself.

  6. I didn’t know that massage could be so dangerous. Is that reflected in licensing requirements?

    This reminds me of the prostitution in Ontario blog since prostitutes also massage don’t they?

  7. Of course, any death like this is tragic. However, this woman was an educated person, a medical doctor,and any person with a modicum of common sense and reasonable care should understand that as a user of any electric or manual/hand massaging device around the neck that you should *first* remove any jewelry—especially a necklace—and clothing.

    Regarding the other cases of using a foot massager for their necks, most 4-year-olds know the difference between their foot and their neck even if only by hearing this song (or doing the Hokey-pokey in pre-kindergarten):

    The foot bone’s connected to the ankle bone…
    The ankle bone’s connected to the knee bone..

    The shoulder bone’s connected to the neck bone
    The neck bone’s connected to the head bone
    ‘Dem bones, ‘dem bones, dem dry bones…

  8. rafflaw,

    Tell those humans to take it easy, too — and stick with those who are well-qualified… There are people who have “thrown clots” as a result of human massage, as well. (One incident that comes to mind is of a football player who died, after his girlfriend massaged his calves, post-practice or post-game…)

    From the article from the link supplied by mespo:

    A universal misconception about pain is that “no matter where it is, if it hurts, keep rubbing and manipulating it until it feels better.” In doing just that, a relatively young woman with no major stroke risk factors suffered from a disabling stroke.

    Apparently, the warnings to be careful with massage in the area near the carotid artery (lateral neck), and to keep a massaging device in constant movement are serious warnings with significant consequences.

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