When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Fallen and Can’t Get Up

Ive-fallen-and-I-cant-get-upAnything can kill a person, even things intended to be life-saving. An elderly Pennsylvania woman found out the downside of hanging a medical alert gadget around your neck — the hard way.

Roseann J. DiFrancesco was found dead in her bathroom on Feb. 15, according to the report from the Cumberland County Coroner’s Office. Relatives had last spoken to her on Feb. 12.

She was found after a visiting nurse, unable to summon DiFranceso by knocking on the door, entered her home and found her. It was unclear how long she had been dead.

Cumberland County Coroner Charles Hall said the lanyard of the medical device, having caught on the walker, caused DiFrancesco’s upper torso to be suspended above the floor level, and the resulting pressure on her neck cut off air and blood flow.

Hall said the lanyard used by DiFrancesco apparently lacked a breakaway feature. But he didn’t know whether it was the lanyard that came with the device or a replacement.

Hall called the death a “freak accident.”

“Freak accident,” though, is not the same as “one-off.”

However, there have been injuries and a few deaths associated with such personal alert systems over the years. In 2009, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued a warning, saying it was aware of at least six serious injuries or deaths related to one of the popular brands of the device between 1998 and 2009.

Available from numerous makers, they often involve a pendant with a button the wearer can push to summon medical help in the event of a fall or medical emergency.

Some have break-away lanyards to prevent choking or injury if the lanyard catches on something or is otherwise pulled.

However, there has been disagreement over the benefits of breakaway lanyards, with some device makers saying the greater danger is that a lanyard will break and the alert device will be out of reach when needed.

16 thoughts on “When Guns are Outlawed, Only Outlaws will have Fallen and Can’t Get Up

  1. TRX

    I imagine there will be great posturing and finger-pointing in each direction, but this looks like a prime example of “you pays your money and you takes your chances.”

    1. Ken

      If you get right to it, rings are never safe to wear. I caught my wedding band on a commercial door pusher/handle. Hurt like crazy, put a big kink in the ring. Just walking into a Quickie Mart.

      They used to show us safety films of skinned fingers that would make your butt pucker.

  2. LCPL Martinez CM

    I was at LAX last nite when they closed down the whole airport because of a possible active shooter (loud noise only was what they said when things cleared up).

    During the commotion, as I was looking around (I was exiting the arrivals area attempting to catch a bus), it was absolute chaos (ironically much of it generated by the police, yelling, running and pointing their guns every which way).

    I noticed a couple of TSA personnel exit their terminals and walked calmly out. They took off their uniform shirts, and just walked with the crowd. So my good guy with no gun instinct kicked in, and they just happened to be walking my way,

    So I asked them, what’s going on? They didn’t know either , were just ordered out, so my follow-up… Why’d you guys take- off your shirts? (they were black, with tats, mind you!) Turns out last actual shooting they had at LAX, TSA was specifically targeted. So I laughed with them, LOL! and thought

    man, I’m so happy my tax-dollars are paying these knuckle-heads! (But I couldn’t help but respect their pragmatism, LOL! uniforms as work place hazard!)

      1. LCpl Martinez

        No, no… Black Zorro was a different matter all together. He was some cosplay guy, who thought it was perfectly fine to play dress-up and carry around a plastic sword in the airport.

        Different calls generated because the cops that responded for Black Zorro (the guy was black), peeled off to run to the “shooting” call, that’s what the cops were yelling as they peeled off and ran to the next terminal.

        Black Zorro was outside the arrivals area. I think they ended up letting him go, when the rest of the cops ran off, only 2 cops were left talking to Black Zorro. Black Zorro seemed cool, just some cosplay guy.

      1. Martinez

        I agree with TSA, disband that agency yesterday! SFO and a few other airports do much better when guards aren’t given civil service status ;-)

        Here’s two scams I’ve spied just by standing in line waiting my turn at TSA, one they wear ’em rubber gloves, they swipe the goods with their hands, then roll gloves up with valuable and toss inside trash bins; they also quick stack trays with laptops or other valuables still inside then move those trays around—- both trash can and trays end up in the break room or some other quiet area to collect the loot, and gone.

        God knows what happens in the luggage inspection area!

        As I walked towards Century blvd. where all the hotels are, I saw ambulances and fire trucks stuck in traffic (which was not moving at all). Solution: station your fire station in the airport, one station in the terminals and one with bigger amenities at the opposite end of the run way (both ends if possible), they just constructed a new int’l terminal, why wasn’t a fire station added?

        As for police response, there’s LAX PD and LAPD, then neighboring departments are El Segundo and Inglewood. The enthusiasm was there last night, but w/out evidence of actual shooting, police aren’t suppose to be inciting panic, they’ll just make their jobs more difficult than necessary. Form up, be ready, but walk calmly and observe (use your nose and ears). Slow and easy, no need to cause a commotion.

        But I think much of the chaos stemmed from an Amber alert like system that affected cell phones in the area. I know social media feeds were prevalent also, with people watching videos on their phones as they walked away from LAX, but what set off the melee from my vantage were phone alerts, from Googling news articles today none have mentioned such system, but it definitely was in play last night. I have an old flip phone, the dumbest phone ever, but I’ve dropped it a million times and it’s still kicking ;-) I think I didn’t get an alert because I had no GPS.

        1. Hognose Post author

          Re: fire stations. All Part 137 (airline) airports have to have manned airside fire and rescue during hours of scheduled operation (which for most Part 137s is 24/7/365). That’s an FAA requirement in the USA, but similar requirements from national authorities and the international ICAO are global in scope.

          Usually there’s an MOU with local FD’s about who responds to a call where. Usually the local FDs own the ground side.

          1. Martinez USMC

            I think they are just across the street (maybe Aesop) can clarify. But awhile back catching a flight to Hawaii (K-Bay!) I remember a jetBlue land with one missing (or broken) landing gear.

            And FD was there on the spot, on the runaway…

            But I think when there’s incidents in the terminals, they don’t cross the runways to get to the terminals, they go around and enter using the passenger ingress/egress, which truly baffles the mind.

            I’m still reading the 2013 after action from Aesop’s link, but I gotta feeling LAFD were stuck in the same place then as last night. All dressed up and nowhere to go.

          2. Aesop

            There are four LAFD fire stations involved:
            Stn. 80 has the actual airport response & crash rescue trucks, and is located right between the two runways. Unless an airplane is crashing, on fire, or the like, they probably won’t roll to anything inside the airport, and don’t have any rescue ambulances assigned. They’re there strictly to blow out burning airplanes and such, and/or contain jet fuel spills, etc.
            Stn. 51 is just south of the airport, and has responsibility for the terminals.
            Stn. 5 is across the street from LAX proper on the north side, and Stn. 95 is 4 blocks east on Century Blvd., both of them tasked with normal fire and EMS response adjacent to LAX as well as inside, depending on the incident.
            Stn. 5 also has one of the city’s six USAR units.

            LAFD is one of the few agencies in proximity to LAX that rarely has any responsibility for assclownery. That sad duty usually belongs to people with guns and badges, and the people who nominally control them, anywhere from the White House down to LAPD’s Police Admin Bldg. HQ.

  3. Bill T

    I have my cell phone (includes 911 button, GPS, and “I.C.E”) that I keep on a lanyard around my neck. It has a safety break-away and the lanyard terminal is NOT very strong. I’d rather lose my cell phone than my life.
    I spent most of my life in the woods and on the farm. No cell, no medevac, no nearby ambulance, no EMTs, etc. I am happy to have all that available but not at the risk of choking to death.
    As usual, use caution and good sense. (Situational Awareness?)

  4. Aesop

    The lanyard will prove to be an after-market “upgrade”, probably by the decedent (or well-meaning but thoughtless friends/relatives/caregivers).
    Else the alert company would have been lawyered out of existence, or soon will be.

    So ultimately, this was manslaughter by stupidity.

    Nothing should go around your neck with a higher tensile or breaking strength than your skin.
    And word to your grandmother, those life alerts work just fine on those stretchy wrist lanyards.

  5. bloke_from_ohio

    My condolences are with the family. That is why dog tag chains break. They are pretty much perfect for anything you need to put around your neck (like dog tags, keys, etc).

    -Over educated operations analyst

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