Users of Philips sleep apnea devices can determine if their device is part of the recent recall of defective Philips products. In 2021, Philips initiated a recall of many of its continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP), and ventilator devices as a result of health risks that they presented. This recall leads many vulnerable CPAP users to wonder, “how do I know if my CPAP machine has been recalled?”
If individuals believe that their device is part of the recall, and they developed related injuries or illnesses, they can take steps to determine whether their device is involved.
The Dangers of Recalled Philips CPAP Machines
Philips recalled a large number of CPAP, BiPAP, and ventilator machines because of the dangers they posed to users. CPAP machine users might be wondering, “How can a CPAP machine cause cancer and other conditions?” Unlike other types of sleep apnea devices, the affected Philips products contained a sound-deadening foam made of a potentially dangerous substance called polyester-based polyurethane (PE-PUR). The purpose of the foam is to ensure the machine runs quieter and with minimal vibration.
While PE-PUR alone isn’t harmful, it has the ability to release toxic chemicals in the form of particles and gasses as it degrades, which can cause harm to users when inhaled or swallowed. Moisture and heat can cause the PE-PUR foam to release isocyanates, which may cause a wide range of health issues, including respiratory illnesses and even cancer.
Although Philips hasn’t received any reports of deaths resulting from the defective CPAP machines, they are known to cause health issues, including respiratory issues and cancer.
Some risks associated with the recalled CPAP machines include:
- Irritation of the skin, eyes, and respiratory tract
- Chest pressure
- Chest pressure
Additional issues include organ problems, sinus infections, inflammatory response, and carcinogenic effects that could increase the risk of cancers.
Cancers that may result from exposure to PE-PUR include lung cancer, stomach cancer, brain cancer, bladder cancer, leukemia, liver cancer, breast cancer, multiple myeloma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, testicular cancer, rectal cancer, prostate cancer, thyroid cancer, nasal cancer, and lymphatic cancer.
These risks make the Philips recall particularly serious, as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) labeled it a Class I recall. Class I recalls involve products known for potentially causing serious injury or death.
Check if Your Device is Part of the Philips Recall
The recall impacted many Philips products, the majority of which are in the company’s DreamStation product line. Specifically, the recall affected devices manufactured from 2009 to early 2021, when the company announced the recall.
If users of Philips products are wondering what CPAP machines are causing cancer and other illnesses and injuries, there are specific devices involved. The list of recalled devices includes those from the following lines: Aeris, Garbin Plus, LifeVent, DreamStation, BiPAP A30/A40 Series, Trilogy 100, Trilogy 200, Trilogy Evo, SystemOne (Q-Series), Dorma 400 and 500, C-Series ASV, BiPAP V30, E30, and REMstar SE Auto.
If individuals want to check to see if the recall involves their device, they can take steps to screen their device with the manufacturer. These steps entail:
Finding the Serial Number
Each Philips device includes a serial number on the bottom label. The numbers, like other serial numbers, adhere to a set SN or S/N pattern. These numbers will help identify a CPAP machine in the list of recalled devices.
Registering the Device
After locating the device’s serial number, individuals can register the device via the Philips Respironics website. The website includes a registration form that people can complete, including details such as their names, phone numbers, and addresses, which will enable Philips to contact them about the recall. All information should be up-to-date and valid to make sure Philips is able to reach out.
Once users of Philips devices have registered their product, the website will display a notification indicating that the device is not part of the recall if it isn’t. If the device is part of the recall, the website will send a confirmation number along with more details regarding the Philips Respironics recall. Individuals should save this number to make sure it stays in their records.
These steps will help users of Philips products determine if their devices are part of the recall and indicate what to do next.
Repairing and Replacing the CPAP Devices
If a Philips customer’s device is part of the recall, Philips has initiated a repair and replacement program for its devices. Individuals can send in their device to Philips and have it either repaired or replaced with a new model. The program applies to the U.S. and other countries, with repair and replacement completed within around 12 months.
If users don’t wish to continue using a Philips breathing device, they may seek alternatives. Upon speaking with a medical professional, individuals may decide to switch to a different brand, with several on the market apart from Philips. Additionally, individuals can seek other forms of treatment for sleep apnea, including lifestyle changes and sleep apnea surgery. Ultimately, it’s best to speak with a medical professional to determine which treatment is best.
What to Do Next if Your CPAP Device Was Recalled
According to the FDA, the best step to take after a person finds out that their device is part of the Philips recall is to consult with their doctor to discuss potential treatment. While it may be ideal to stop using the CPAP machine, some medical professionals may actually recommend that their patients continue to use them if the benefits outweigh the risks.
Philips devices that aren’t part of the recall include those containing silicone foam in place of the potentially dangerous PE-PUR foam. At this time, the FDA doesn’t recommend that people stop using silicone foam-containing devices, making them a potential alternative to the recalled devices.
Generally, a medical provider may decide whether to:
- Stop CPAP treatment
- Suggest another machine that isn’t part of the recall
- Recommend other types of treatments, including positional therapy or oral appliances
- Recommend certain lifestyle changes, such as ceasing the use of alcohol and tobacco or losing weight
- Suggest sleep apnea surgery when other options aren’t as effective
- Recommend that the patient keep using the recalled device if the risks of stopping are too great
In addition to seeing a medical professional for treatment options, users who have sustained injuries or illnesses related to the use of recalled Philips products may be able to file a Philips CPAP lawsuit. If a patient has died and their loved ones believe that the use of a recalled sleep apnea device contributed to their death, it may be possible for loved ones to file a lawsuit on their behalf.
While it may be difficult to prove that a defective CPAP machine caused a particular injury or illness, it’s still a potential option. A product liability lawyer may help prove that the use of the device led to the condition.
A growing number of CPAP lawsuits are building, largely because Philips was aware of the dangers of its devices long before announcing and initiating its recall. Many individuals have suffered cancer and other serious conditions because of exposure to the dangerous PE-PUR foam.
Potential Compensation in a CPAP Lawsuit
If users of devices that are part of CPAP recalls choosing to file a lawsuit, they may qualify for compensation for different types of damages.
One type of damage that victims may be able to recover includes economic damages, or special damages, which can include medical bills, lost wages, and other damages that are often easy to calculate. Victims involved in the CPAP recall may need to pay for medical expenses, such as initial and ongoing treatment, along with lost income resulting from recovery periods or disability.
Another kind of damage that victims may recover is non-economic, or general, in nature. Unlike economic damages, these include damages that aren’t easily calculated in many cases. They’re subjective and involve less tangible damage to individuals, including personal pain and suffering. Victims who used defective CPAP machines may experience a degree of pain and suffering, including physical and psychological distress.
One final type of damage that could come into play in the CPAP recall is punitive. The courts only award punitive damages if defendants acted unusually negligent or maliciously. It’s currently unclear whether these awards will apply to the Philips lawsuits.
Taking the Right Steps When Discovering a Device Is Part of the Recall
Individuals can check online through the Philips registry to find out whether their device is part of the CPAP recall. If they discover that their device is involved, they can take steps to seek treatment and potentially file a lawsuit against Philips for any related damages sustained.