Why are CPAP machines getting recalled? Philips Respironics recently recalled millions of the company’s continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) and bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP) machines because of the tendency for the devices’ sound abatement foam to degrade, potentially leading to serious health issues.
If users of these devices have developed illnesses or injuries as a result of material degradation, they may qualify for compensation with a CPAP lawsuit.
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Which CPAP Machines Were Recalled?
In June 2021, Philips recalled a line of CPAP, BiPAP, and ventilator products due to the potential health risks associated with them. Specifically, polyester-based polyurethane (PE-PUR) sound abatement foam in these devices degrades, generating particles and toxic gasses that can cause illnesses and injuries to develop. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) labeled this a Class I recall, which means that these devices can lead to serious injury or even death.
So, how can a CPAP machine cause cancer, exactly? Users may inhale or swallow the toxic gasses and particles, which contain various types of carcinogenic and toxic chemicals. The most affected devices include CPAP and BiPAP machines that are three years old or vulnerable to humidity and heat.
Health Risks of Using a Recalled CPAP Machine
The degraded PE-PUR foam in the recalled CPAP devices puts individuals at risk of health complications due to exposure to dangerous particles and gasses. Although serious health issues can result from inhaling the toxic chemicals in the recalled machines, there are no reported deaths resulting from their use.
There are many health risks that the recalled devices may cause, including:
- Irritation of the eyes, skin, and respiratory tract
- Conditions affecting organs such as the liver and kidneys
- Chest pressure
Other potential conditions may include sinus infections, inflammatory response, and carcinogenic effects that increase the risk of certain types of cancer.
What Devices Did the Recall Affect?
It’s important to understand what CPAP machines are causing cancer and other health issues. The recall affected the majority of Philips Respironics CPAP, BiPAP, and ventilator devices. The bulk of these devices are in the DreamStation line of devices. The recall impacted devices manufactured between 2009 and April 2021, mostly in the United States.
In addition to the DreamStation devices, the FDA announced in early 2022 that Trilogy EVO repair kits and ventilators are part of the recall.
The following are the specific device brands that fall under the CPAP recalls:
- Garbin Plus
- BiPAP A30/A40 Series Device Models
- BiPAP V30
- REMstar SE Auto
Other impacted devices include C-Series ASV, SystemOne (Q-Series), Dorma 400 and 500, Trilogy 100 and 200, Trilogy Evo, and E30.
If users believe that the recall affected their device, they can look at the device registration through Philips and contact the company to report the device. The Philips website will detail what types of devices the recall pertains to, along with images of each device.
If individuals still aren’t sure whether the recall affected their device, they can look up their device’s specific serial number and register the device.
How to Replace a Recalled CPAP Machine
Philips has a program in place to help repair and replace all affected CPAP devices. The FDA officially authorized Philips to replace the sound abatement foam in the recalled devices as of September 1, 2021. The company may also replace devices with the latest line of DreamStation 2 models.
On the Philips website, users of the recalled devices can register for the repair and replace program. According to Philips, the process of repairing and replacing the impacted machines will take around 12 months.
If users no longer wish to use CPAP machines from Philips or other manufacturers, there are other options available to them. To determine which solution is best, individuals can consult with their doctors. Medical professionals may make certain recommendations for alternatives, such as nasal decongestants, lifestyle changes, weight loss, or, in more severe cases, sleep apnea surgery. While CPAP machines may not be the best solution for everyone whom sleep apnea affects, there are plenty of other ways to resolve this particular health issue.
How to File a Lawsuit for CPAP Injuries
Users of the recalled CPAP machines and other devices may be able to file a lawsuit if they sustained injuries or developed illnesses as a result of the faulty device.
In the Philips case, there is currently a class-action lawsuit against the company claiming that Philips was aware of the health issues that its customers experienced. In fact, the lawsuit claims Philips knew about the dangers of PE-PUR sound abatement foam for years, despite failing to warn users until the company’s April 2021 announcement. Philips then proceeded to wait for months before going forward with the recall.
One reason the time of the initial recall is concerning is that the company released its next generation of devices around the same time. This essentially forced customers to upgrade to the latest versions of Philips devices, seeing as people dependent on these devices would be without one otherwise. At the same time, alternatives were difficult to source due to shortages, and patients under medicare and certain insurance plans are ineligible for getting new devices unless the existing device is at least five years old.
Who Can File a Lawsuit?
Any individual who has used one of the recalled CPAP, BiPAP, or ventilator devices and sustained injuries or illnesses, as a result, may qualify for compensation through a CPAP lawsuit. If a user passes away due to the use of these devices, the loved ones may also file a lawsuit on behalf of the deceased.
Keep in mind that, like other lawsuits, the CPAP lawsuit has a set statute of limitations in place. This means there’s only a limited amount of time to file before victims are unable to recover the compensation they deserve. This makes it important to file as soon as possible upon determining that an illness or injury may have resulted from the use of one of the recalled Philips products.
It’s likely that many people will file lawsuits against Philips, considering these devices had millions of users. People filing a lawsuit will need to prove that their device was the cause of their injury or illness.
Linking the Recalled Devices to Specific Cancers
The Philips recall is still recent, which means that it’s currently somewhat challenging to connect the recalled devices to specific types of cancer. It’s important to keep in mind that if a cancer develops soon following the use of a recalled device, this doesn’t necessarily prove that the faulty device was the cause.
The duration of the use of the machine is often a big factor in the development of cancer. People who use faulty devices for several years are more likely to develop cancer than those who only use the device for a couple of years or months. Even if users of these devices believe their illness resulted from the use of one of the recalled Philips devices, they will need to prove the causal link between the defective machine and the illness.
Through the collection and organization of medical records and other evidence, users of recalled Philips devices may prove that their CPAP machine caused a particular injury or illness. A product liability lawyer can help gather sufficient evidence and help build a successful case.
Potential Compensation in a CPAP Lawsuit
Currently, there are no trial dates set for the Philips recall lawsuits, but compensation could be around $100,000 to $500,000 per settlement, according to some experts. Due to the fact that class actions are soon to develop, bellwether cases may help determine the types of compensation that plaintiffs may recover in these cases. Bellwether trials are early “test” trials that help establish how subsequent proceedings will go.
While the compensation may be within a limited range for these cases, each case will be unique. Depending on the claim, a variety of economic and non-economic damages may come into play.
Some potential economic damages in these cases could include medical bills for diagnosis and treatment, along with lost income due to the time required to take off from work to recover. Meanwhile, many victims are likely to suffer non-economic damages in the form of pain and suffering, as users of recalled devices may suffer certain physical and psychological trauma.
Punitive damages may also apply to these cases, which courts only award to victims as a means of setting an example and preventing similar levels of egregious behavior. The intent behind these damages is to punish the defendant for acting with extraordinary negligence. It’s unclear whether punitive damages will apply in the Philips recall. A CPAP recall lawyer can help victims of faulty machines determine what damages to pursue in a product liability claim against the manufacturer.