Electronic massager strangles radiologist

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. —A Jackson Memorial Hospital radiologist was strangled to death in her Parkland, Fla., home on Christmas Eve by an electronic massager that became ensnared with a necklace she was wearing, according to the Broward Sheriff's Office.

Michelle Ferrari-Gegerson, 37, had spent the evening wrapping gifts and preparing to go to work, and had used the massager to relieve neck pain, said a report released Wednesday by the Sheriff's Office.

Ferrari-Gegerson was discovered unconscious on her bedroom floor by her husband, Kenneth Gegerson, a dentist, at about 9 p.m. Friday.

Gegerson, who could not be reached for comment this week, dialed 911. When police and paramedics arrived, they found an electronic massager on the floor near Ferrari-Gegerson, according to the Sheriff's Office report.

Police are temporarily withholding the brand and other details of the electronic massager as the investigation continues.

But this is not the first incident where an electrical massager has reportedly strangled someone to death.

In December 2008, Matoba Electric Manufacturing Co. based in Saitama, Japan, recalled an electronic foot massager after three reported cases in that country of women strangling themselves accidentally while using the machine as a neck massager.

In all the cases, the women removed a cloth cover from the Arubi Shape-Up roller, and the collar of their shirts ended up getting caught in the machine's rollers.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has reported recalling three types of electronic massagers since 1998, though none were reported to have caused a death.

Instead, each recall involved back massagers that posed a fire hazard.

Ferrari-Gegerson, a graduate of Florida Atlantic University and the University of Miami School of Medicine, had been an assistant professor of clinical radiology specializing in emergency and trauma radiology at the University of Miami for about two years.