This sounds like an idea for a sketch on Saturday Night Live that gets a lot of laughs in the writers’ room, but never makes it on air because it’s too morbid.
But tragically, this story is 100% legit. An 86-year-old woman in Pennsylvania is dead after her medical alert necklace got caught on the handle of her walker as she lost her balance and fell.
She was found by a nurse who entered the home after the woman, Roseann DiFrancesco, failed to answer the door. The report states that she was “left hanging by the necklace.”
The Cumberland County Coroner has ruled the death accidental. The necklace did not have a breakaway clasp.
And while the coroner called the death a “freak accident,” DiFrancesco isn’t the first person to die directly from these “lifesaving” devices.
According to a 2009 report from the Food and Drug Administration, there were at least six choking deaths between 1998 and 2009 connected to the Philips Lifeline Personal Help button. Just two years later in 2011, Philips Lifeline issued a recall on their neck cords and designed all future products to have a breakaway feature.