Though senior and medical alert systems such as LifeAid are God-sends for the elderly and others with medical conditions wishing to live independently, there are also some risks that one wouldn’t otherwise consider. A case in point, is a tragic incident that occurred on November 19, 2011 in White Plains, NY. Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr. a heart patient living alone with a LifeAid medical alert system accidentally triggered the system alarm via the pendant that he wore around his neck while sleeping. Though false alarms with medical alert systems are not uncommon events, what unfortunately must be pointed out here is that Mr. Chamberlain was an African American male living in a public housing project.
If we pause to consider the ramifications of Mr. Chamberlain’s circumstances based on the troubled history of encounters between African Americans and law enforcement, then we can possibly share the very same apprehension that Mr. Chamberlain experienced when the policed knocked on his apartment door in the middle of the night after being called by the LifeAid monitoring center.
The details of what transpired next are truly both infuriating as well as heartbreaking. Suffice it to say, that when the police left, Mr. Chamberlain lay dead on the floor of his apartment and the police officers involved were exonerated of any wrong doing in his death, which unfortunately seems to be the norm for many of these types of encounters. You can read the full story of what happened on Workers World.