Woman, 86, strangled by medical alert necklace

NEW CUMBERLAND, Pa. (AP) — A coroner says an 86-year-old Pennsylvania woman died after she apparently tripped and her medical alert necklace caught on her walker and strangled her.

Cumberland County Coroner Charles Hall tells Pennlive that Roseann DiFrancesco was found dead in her New Cumberland bathroom on Feb. 15. She was discovered by a visiting nurse.

Hall says the lanyard got caught on the walker, causing DiFrancesco's upper torso to be suspended above the floor. He says the pressure on her neck cut off air and blood flow.

Hall calls the death a "freak accident" and says the medical alert necklace didn't have a breakaway clasp.

The devices feature a button that can alert an operator and get the caller any needed help.

As far back as 2009, the FDA warning about the devices being a potential choking hazard.

Philips Lifeline issued a safety alert for more than 750,000 of the devices that year because of the posibility of them being a chocking hazard.

It was unclear what brand DiFrancesco was wearing. 

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