If you use a continuous positive airway pressure machine, you may be wondering, “How serious is the Philips CPAP recall?” According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the recent Philips CPAP recall is labeled Class I, which is the most serious type of recall because of the risks of serious injury and death involved. The severity of the recall has led to serious health issues, along with lawsuits against Philips.
Reasons for the CPAP Recall
In June 2021, Philips recalled many of its continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP), and ventilator devices due to the health risks they may cause.
Many people are curious to know, “How can a CPAP machine cause cancer?” In short, it has to do with the material Philips has used for its foam. Specifically, the foam in the recalled CPAP devices consists of polyester-based polyurethane (PE-PUR) to help dampen the noise and reduce the vibrations the devices could otherwise cause during use.
While the sound abatement foam is effective at reducing noise and vibrations, the PE-PUR material has the ability to degrade over time. As the material disintegrates due to moisture, heat, and other factors, it may begin to release toxic gasses and particles that can cause various health issues when users inhale or ingest them. This is due to the isocyanates that PE-PUR can release, as these chemical compounds are carcinogenic and can cause serious health issues, including cancer.
After Philips discovered the dangers associated with the PE-PUR foam in its devices, the company began recalling all affected CPAP, BiPAP, and ventilator machines.
Health Risks of Using a Recalled CPAP Machine
There are different health risks that may result from the use of the recalled CPAP machines. The various effects could include respiratory illnesses, injuries, and cancer. Although Philips hasn’t reported any deaths due to the use of the affected devices, experts have attributed the machines to health risks that, if left untreated, could cause fatalities.
Some health risks that users could experience with these devices include the following:
- Irritation of the respiratory tract, eyes, and skin
Other potential health risks include sinus infection, chest pressure, problems with the liver and other organs, inflammatory response, and carcinogenic effects that may increase the risk of cancer.
The PE-PUR foam in these devices may also cause a variety of cancers. These include lung cancer, bladder cancer, brain cancer, multiple myeloma, leukemia, liver cancer, kidney cancer, and nasal cancer.
Ultimately, there are many potential health conditions that users of the affected Philips CPAP machines may develop over time. If individuals sustained injuries or developed illnesses and believe these devices were the cause, they may be able to recover compensation through a Philips CPAP lawsuit with the help of a product liability lawyer.
Which Models Are Part of the CPAP Recall?
If Philips CPAP machine users are wondering what CPAP machines are causing cancer and other health conditions, they can check the Philips website for a list. The Philips recall hasn’t impacted all the company’s breathing devices. However, it has affected many of its CPAP, BiPAP, and ventilator machines, particularly those in the company’s DreamStation line. All the devices involved in the CPAP recalls include those manufactured between 2009 and April 2021, with the majority of them distributed within the U.S.
In addition, the FDA added the Trilogy Evo repair kits and ventilators to the recall in January 2022.
The various devices involved in the recall include the following: Aeris, BiPAP A30/A40 Series, BiPAP V30, Garbin Plus, REMstar SE Auto, SystemOne (Q-Series), C-Series ASV, Trilogy 100, Trilogy 200, Trilogy Evo, E30, DreamStation, LifeVent, and Dorma 400 and 500 devices.
If users of Philips devices aren’t sure whether their device is part of the recall, they can also visit the Philips Respironics website to confirm their involvement. Visitors to the website simply need to enter their device’s serial number into the registration form, at which point Philips will indicate whether the device is part of the recall or excluded. If the device is part of the recall, Philips will send more details about how to proceed. From there, individuals can do what they need to upon discovering that the recall involves their device.
Do You Need to File a Lawsuit for CPAP Injuries?
A growing number of people are filing lawsuits against Philips because of the illnesses and injuries the company’s recalled devices have caused. The lawsuits are seeking compensation from the company and claim that Philips failed to give sufficient warning about the risks its products posed.
Following an investigation, the FDA determined that Philips conducted testing that found that the PE-PUR foam was dangerous and potentially cancer-causing. Despite this knowledge, Philips continued to use the potentially toxic foam and neglected to alert the public to its dangers.
In these lawsuits, plaintiffs may be able to recover compensation for various damages, including economic and non-economic damages.
These are damages that include medical bills, lost wages, and other quantifiable losses that are easy to calculate when determining settlement amounts. Many victims of affected Philips machines may qualify for certain economic damages, including medical expenses for treating CPAP machine use-related illnesses, along with lost income due to time is taken off from work to recover or disability.
The CPAP lawsuits may also involve certain types of non-economic damages, which aren’t as easy to calculate as economic damages. Non-economic damages, also known as general damages, include pain and suffering, such as physical pain and psychological distress. These damages don’t come with a specific dollar amount, which is why it can be more difficult to calculate them.
While these damages rarely come into play in lawsuits, some cases do involve them. What makes these different from economic and non-economic damages is their nature. While the other types of damages aim to compensate victims for their financial losses and suffering as a result of negligence, the courts award punitive damages with the intention of punishing the defendant. Judges normally only award these damages if a party acted with gross negligence in the hope that similar behavior won’t occur in the future. The Philips CPAP lawsuits may not involve these damages, but it’s possible that the courts may award them if they find Philips to have been particularly egregious in its negligence.
Steps to Take if You Have a Recalled Device
If users of CPAP devices find that their device is part of the recall, the FDA advises them to speak to their medical provider to discuss potential options. It’s in most people’s best interest to stop using the affected devices, but doctors may recommend that individuals continue using them if necessary.
The best step to take is to speak with a medical professional about whether it’s best to continue using CPAP machines or seek an alternative. When consulting a medical provider, it’s possible that they may decide to:
- Cease the CPAP treatment
- Recommend another CPAP machine that’s not involved in the Philips recall, including a machine from another brand
- Suggest other treatments, including positional therapy, oral appliances, or others
- Recommend lifestyle changes to help treat sleep apnea, including weight loss, abstaining from alcohol consumption, tobacco cessation, or sleep apnea surgery
- Recommend that the patient continue using the recalled device if the benefits outweigh the potential risks and a replacement isn’t readily available
Philips has initiated a repair and replacement program to either fix existing machines or replace them with models that don’t contain PE-PUR foam. If users possess a recalled device, they can simply send the device to the company. Philips has stated that it aims to repair or replace all machines within 12 months of receiving them.
In addition to sending their devices in for repairs or a replacement, individuals may be able to file CPAP lawsuits if they sustained related injuries or illnesses. An attorney may be able to help collect sufficient evidence that the impacted device contributed to respiratory illness, cancer, or another health issue warranting compensation.
Generally, there are several options available to users of recalled CPAP devices. They can discuss these options with their medical providers and an attorney to determine which steps to take next.
Taking Immediate Action
The severity of the Philips CPAP recall has made it crucial for people with recalled devices to take the right steps toward treating sleep apnea via alternatives and potentially seeking compensation from Philips. Many individuals have suffered a variety of conditions because of the toxic PE-PUR foam in these devices, which is why it’s important for them to stop using the devices when possible and to begin building cases against Philips. Once users of the affected devices begin treatment, they can discuss alternative treatments and start preparing lawsuits with a CPAP recall lawyer.
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.