Your CPAP device may cause you to develop bladder cancer and other organ cancers. Recent studies have found that the polyester-based polyurethane (PE-PUR) foam in defective CPAP devices may degrade and release potentially carcinogenic particles and gases. You might inhale, absorb, or swallow these harmful particles and gases, which could enter organs like the bladder, kidney, and lungs. These carcinogens can progressively trigger cellular changes that turn healthy cells into cancerous cells. Among other cancers, bladder cancer is a result of using CPAP devices that are defective.
Philips issued a voluntary recall of millions of its CPAP and respiratory care devices in June 2021. The recall was due to the potential health hazards associated with the defective PE-PUR foam contained in these devices. The Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) assigned a “Class I” classification to the Philips device recall in July 2021. A Class I recall covers products with the highest degree of health hazards.
The recall has caused several thousand users of the affected Philips devices to initiate Philips CPAP lawsuits. The lawsuits link long-term use of these devices, or subsequent exposure to the harmful PE-PUR foam found in recalled devices, to increased risk of cancer and other serious health issues.
How Do the Defective CPAP Devices Cause Bladder Cancer?
If you have been diagnosed with bladder cancer following long-term use of a CPAP device, you might ask, “is bladder cancer a result of using CPAP devices?” A CPAP device can cause cancer of any organ, including the bladder.
Recent lab testing and reports indicate that the PE-PUR foam present in recalled CPAP devices consists of toxic chemicals, including toluene diisocyanate, toluene diamine, and diethylene glycol. The foam also emits harmful gasses and compounds, such as dimethyl diazine.
These unsafe gasses and compounds from the defective PE-PUR foam seep into your CPAP device’s air pathways. They enter your bloodstream and move into any of your organs, including the bladder. These chemicals disrupt normal cellular processes, causing cancerous cells to develop.
Long-term use or exposure to carcinogens and other harmful chemicals increases the risk of cancer development. Some chemicals can cause DNA damage, triggering mutations that may result in cancer. Other chemicals can trigger unusual cell division that can cause cancer development.
Besides breathing unsafe gases and compounds discharged into the device’s air pathways, you might also swallow tiny foam particles. Many users have reported noticing black debris and particles in the masks, filters, and tubing of their CPAP machines. The debris and particles might enter your body through the mouth or respiratory tract. Your body may digest and metabolize these harmful particles, causing multiple health complications. These complications include upper airway irritation, asthma, chest pressure, and sinus infection.
The metabolized foam particles may overwork your immune system, weakening it over time. A weakened immune system, coupled with mutations, increases your risk of developing cancer. Breaking down and metabolizing foam particles may contribute to the types of cancer the CPAP machines cause. These cancers include bladder, prostate, lung, and stomach cancer.
Bladder and other organ cancers may also develop due to chronic inflammation caused by defective CPAP foam exposure. In fact, Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) lists chronic inflammation as one of the risk factors for cancer.
Chronic inflammation can destroy DNA or synthesize molecules known as cytokines. These molecules can promote the development of blood vessels that enrich the tumor with oxygen and nutrients. One study published in the PNAS journal revealed that chronic inflammation contributes to about 20% of cancers.
What Are the Symptoms of Bladder Cancer Caused by CPAP Devices?
Presence of Blood in the Urine (Hematuria)
The presence of blood in the urine is the most common symptom of bladder cancer. Sometimes, the amount of blood present is sufficient to change the urine color to orange, pink, or dark red. Other times, the amount of blood present is insufficient to change the urine color.
Your urine may contain blood one day, and the next day it’s clear. If you have bladder cancer, however, the blood may reappear weeks or months later. Bleeding at the initial stages of bladder cancer might be accompanied by little or no pain.
A urine test may help detect blood if you have normal urine color despite experiencing other bladder cancer symptoms. Doctors do not solely rely on general urine tests to diagnose patients with bladder cancer, however. The reason is that hematuria can be a symptom of different other conditions unrelated to cancer, like kidney stones or bladder infections. Cytology is the urine test used to detect bladder cancer. This test involves studying the urine sample under a microscope to identify cancerous cells.
Changes in Urination
Bladder cancer caused by a CPAP device may alter your bladder habits. You may need to urinate more frequently than usual, affecting your ability to concentrate during the day or sleep at night. You may experience pain or a burning sensation while urinating. You may also need to urinate urgently, even when your bladder is almost empty.
Other health complications, including bladder stones, urinary tract infection (UTI), and overactive bladder may cause similar symptoms. It is, however, wise to get a bladder cancer test if you have been using one of the recalled Philips CPAP devices.
Can Victims File a Philips CPAP Claim for Bladder Cancer?
Victims diagnosed with bladder cancer after exposure to defective CPAP foam have a right to file a CPAP claim. Those who have lost a loved one due to bladder cancer caused by a defective CPAP device may also qualify to initiate a CPAP claim.
Victims should start by gathering as much Philips CPAP lawsuit information as possible to help them determine the best course of action. They should also ensure they meet the following requirements before initiating their claim:
- They must have been diagnosed with bladder cancer (or another condition tied to defective CPAP use)
- They must have used one of the recalled CPAP machines for at least six months
- They must file their claim within their state’s statute of limitations
Working With a CPAP Lawyer
You need to hire a CPAP lawyer to stand a better chance of getting a favorable outcome from your Philips CPAP claim. A lawyer familiar with the CPAP device recall process will review the details and evidence available in your case to determine if you are eligible for compensation.
Your CPAP lawyer will help you file your claim within your state filing deadline. The lawyer will support the claim with medical documentation, evidence of using the recalled CPAP device, and other relevant documentation that directly link your bladder cancer to the faulty device.
Your lawyer will pursue all the compensation you require to cover your present and future medical expenses. The lawyer will consider your current medical bills, including diagnostic tests, hospital visits, doctor’s appointments, and medications, in calculating your medical damages. He or she will also consult your doctor and other medical professionals to determine your future medical needs and estimated costs.
Your CPAP lawyer understands that the impact of your bladder cancer extends beyond your medical needs. As such, the lawyer will ensure the compensation pursued covers the impact of your medical condition on your career, everyday life, and ability to enjoy life. The lawyer will work with economists and mental health professionals to put a dollar value on non-economic losses and other damages from your bladder cancer.
Your lawyer has two potential legal arguments for your case. These legal arguments include negligence and strict product liability.
Your lawyer might argue that Philips Respironics, the manufacturer of the recalled CPAP devices, failed to ensure the PE-PUR foam used in its devices was safe. Philips has a legal duty to manufacture products that do not expose users to unnecessary health risks.
Available evidence shows that the manufacturer was aware that it was using a dangerous CPAP design that introduced harmful foam directly into the air pathways of the CPAP machine. This unsafe design exposed users to potential health risks. Your CPAP lawyer can compile and present this evidence to show that the manufacturer prioritized profits over consumer safety by choosing a dangerous design.
Strict Product Liability
A CPAP lawyer may invoke strict product liability to argue your Philips CPAP lawsuit. The lawyer will demonstrate that the manufacturer knowingly sold unsafe CPAP devices. The lawyer will also demonstrate that the manufacturer failed to include a warning label outlining the potential health risks of long-term use of the devices.
How Much Should You Expect to Collect in Settlement
Philips CPAP lawsuits are currently in their initial stages. For this reason, lawyers can only speculate on the CPAP lawsuit settlement amounts. Jury verdicts reached upon the conclusion of bellwether trials will help your lawyer estimate how much you should expect to collect in a settlement.
The settlement amount in your CPAP claim will generally depend on the nature and severity of your injuries, medical bills, lost wages, and available evidence. For example, your settlement amount will be higher if you would require months of chemotherapy and other costly treatments for your bladder cancer.
Chicago personal injury and workers’ compensation attorney Howard Ankin has a passion for justice and a relentless commitment to defending injured victims throughout the Chicagoland area. With decades of experience achieving justice on behalf of the people of Chicago, Howard has earned a reputation as a proven leader in and out of the courtroom. Respected by peers and clients alike, Howard’s multifaceted approach to the law and empathetic nature have secured him a spot as an influential figure in the Illinois legal system.