Doug / 09-07-2011 / Defective products

Death Linked To King International’s ShoulderFlex Massager

The FDA issued a recall on a neck massager after the death of Florida radiologist found strangled on Christmas Eve. The local police department confirmed that the device found next to Dr. Michelle-Ferrari-Gergerson’s body was King International’s ShoulderFlex Massager.

The Food and Drug Administration issued a warning about the ShoulderFlex last week, saying its rotating components were linked to the doctor’s death and one other near-strangulation. The device has rotating “ringers” inside a memory foam pillow, and was marketed as a do-it-yourself deep tissue massage. “It’s a very dangerous device and were glad they’re taking it off the market,” the victim’s husband, Dr. Kenneth Gegerson, said.

The police say the radiologist was alone wrapping gifts on Christmas Eve when she laid down to use the massager and her necklace apparently caught in its moving parts. The necklace quickly tightened, causing Ferrari-Gegerson to pass out and stop breathing. The FDA said other reported incidents said that hair caught in the ShoulderFlex massager. The FDA urged people who own the shoulder massager to “dispose of the device components separately so that the massager cannot be reassembled and used.”

According to the FDA, King International sold nearly 12,000 of the devices since 2003. The ShoulderFlex, which retailed for about $130, is no longer available for retail purchase.

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