Elderly Woman Strangled By Medical Alert Necklace After Fall

The necklace did not have a breakaway clasp on it, the coroner said.
The woman's medical alert necklace, a similar one seen here, did not feature a breakaway clasp on it.
The woman's medical alert necklace, a similar one seen here, did not feature a breakaway clasp on it.

An elderly Pennsylvania woman died after her medical alert necklace reportedly strangled her in what's being called a "freak accident."

Roseann DiFrancesco, 86, was in her New Cumberland home when she tripped and the necklace became caught on her walker, PennLive reported.

The necklace, which is provides users with a help button in such emergencies, began choking her. She was found dead by a visiting nurse on Feb. 15, Fox 43 reported.

Cumberland County Coroner Charles Hall told PennLive that her necklace did not have a breakaway clasp. Hall, who referred to the death as a "freak accident," said he wasn't sure whether it came with her medical alert device or was a replacement.

In 2009 the Food and Drug Administration cautioned of such choking hazards related to these devices.

They said at least six choking deaths, between 1998 and 2009, were blamed on cords connected to the Philips Lifeline Personal Help Button. In 2011 Philips Lifeline issued a recall on neck cords that failed to separate and designed all future cords to have a breakaway safety feature.

The company also offers the option of wearing an alert button on the wrist.

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