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Neck massager blamed for woman's death

On Christmas Eve of last year, a woman died under mysterious circumstances. Unsure of what happened, the local sheriff's office enlisted the help of federal product safety officials to investigate the death of the 37-year-old radiologist. Their findings concluded that the woman died as a result of using a ShoulderFlex Deep Kneading Shiatsu massager, a machine that massages the deep tissues of the neck while an individual lies down.

The United States Food and Drug Administration has since instructed the public to discontinue using the neck massager, asking everyone to dispose of the potentially dangerous product in separate pieces so that others can't reassemble and use it.

In this case, the woman was lying down and using the massager, which she routinely used. However, its rotating device snagged her 16-inch leather necklace, which tightened around her neck and eventually strangled her.

The woman was preparing for her night shift at a hospital as she finished wrapping Christmas presents. The woman's husband saw the lights on in the spare bedroom when his wife was supposed to be at work, and when he entered the room, he found her unresponsive with the necklace tangled up in the massager.

Although the death appeared to be accidental, police questioned the woman's husband to determine if any foul play factored into her death. With product-safety officials investigating the safety of the massager, detectives also noticed the mark left on the woman's neck was a straight line, which essentially ruled out a struggle-type scenario.

Although products are supposed to be rigorously tested for safety, defects in consumer products can and do cause injuries and fatalities every day. However, people who have been injured by defective or dangerous products have the legal right to seek compensation. If you or a loved one has been harmed by a dangerous product, an experienced personal injury attorney can help you understand your legal options.

Source: The Miami Herald, "Neck massager killed Jackson doctor in Parkland home, BSO finds," Juan Ortega, Aug. 31, 2011

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