In the past, back and neck massagers have been recalled mostly because they posed some sort of fire hazard. One massager from another country was recalled after women in that country were accidentally strangled by the cord. These dangerous products were taken off the market to protect consumers.
This past holiday season, a Florida doctor was killed after investigators believe she was accidentally strangled by an electronic massager. She had been home at the time and was found unconscious by her husband.
From what the investigators and responders could tell, the doctor had been using the massager when it got caught on her necklace and accidentally strangled her. An ongoing investigation is apparently looking closely at the brand of electric massager to determine whether it poses a danger to consumers.
Typically, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announces what products are being recalled. There had been three recalls in the past for electronic massagers. In each of the three recalls, the products had been reported to overheat and become a fire and burn hazard. In this specific case, it seems to be the first U.S. death caused by an electric massager.
Typically if a product is believed to have caused an injury or death, an investigation opens to see whether the product itself has any faults or defects. If the investigation shows that the product is dangerous, that is when the recall is likely announced. If it is discovered that the defect is due to the manufacturer, the maker of the product could be liable for injuries or even deaths that resulted from the product's defect.
The doctor who was killed worked as a radiologist and assistant professor. Her focus was improve the quality and experiences that patients have at the hospital; she was well-liked by her peers. She leaves behind a husband and a 1-year-old daughter.
Source: Miami Herald online, "Doctor killed by neck massager," Daniel Chang and Laura Figueroa, 29 December 2010