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The Strange Deaths of Lady Doctors

It was 7 years ago this past summer when Doctor Jacquelyn Kotarac tried to force her way into the home of a man-friend who wasn’t letting her in via the front door. When the back door could not be pried open with a shovel, she carried a ladder from the backyard and climbed to the roof after dark; removed the chimney cap and slid feet-first down the flue. This, according to Bakersfield California Police spokeswoman Mary DeGeare.

At the moment of her ill-advised Santa Claus entry, she had no idea that the man she was trying desperately to visit had sneaked out another door and was no longer in the house. He had driven away for the weekend. And the sad fact was, nobody on earth knew where she was.

So Doctor Kotarac, age 49 – involved in an “on-again, off-again” relationship with a gentleman named William Moody – slid down a chimney in the dark. It was the last mistake she would ever make. Within the suffocating walls of the stone fireplace, no one could hear her screams.

The doctor's decomposing body was found stuck there three days later. Firefighters spent many hours breaking through the brick chimney from the outside the house to extract Kotarac’s body.

Investigators said that the doctor’s office staff reported her missing two days earlier, after she had failed to show up for work and calls to her went unanswered. Her car was found in the alleyway; her purse and cell phone were located on the lawn near the man's house.

“She made an unbelievable error in judgment and nobody understands why, and unfortunately she’s passed away. She had her issues – she had her demons – but I never lost my respect for her.” (William Moody)

* * *

In what may well be the first vibrator-related fatality in U.S. history, a south Florida doctor died after police report that she was choked to death by an electronic neck massage device on December 24, 2010.

Doctor Michelle Ferrari-Gegerson, age 37, a radiologist at Jackson Memorial Hospital, died while using a high-powered vibrator in her Parkland home bedroom on Christmas Eve after an evening spent wrapping gifts. According to the Broward County Medical Examiner, the rotating mechanism became entangled in the strands of a leather necklace she was wearing and she was strangled before she could work herself free.

Husband Kenneth Gegerson called 911 upon finding his wife’s body on the floor next to the bed. Paramedics pronounced Michelle Ferrari-Gegerson dead at the scene when they arrived.

According to the manufacturer of the ShoulderFlex Deep Kneading Shiatsu massager, the device is entirely safe if the simple enclosed warnings are followed. And the four-page instruction booklet lists several warnings not to use the device while wearing a necklace.

Doctor Ferrari-Gegerson was an associate professor at the University of Florida and worked in the emergency department at Jackson Memorial Hospital.

ShoulderFlex: no neckless, no problems

“The very mechanism that caused this unfortunate strangulation, is the precise thing that was warned about: don’t wear a necklace.” (Mark R. Boyd, Attorney for ShoulderFlex)

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