Breathing Machine Recall Over Possible Cancer Risk Leaves Millions Scrambling for Substitutes

Millions of Americans use Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) devices to treat sleep apnea issues. However, in June 2021, Philips Respironics, one of the main manufacturers of CPAP machines, issued a recall for roughly 3.5 million of its ventilator devices. Upon issuing the recall, Philips acknowledged that their CPAP machines had the potential to cause some serious health conditions, including cancer. 

If you used a Philips CPAP device and were diagnosed with cancer, you could be entitled to compensation. This compensation may cover the cost of medical expenses resulting from any injuries caused by the faulty CPAP device, lost income, and pain and suffering. 

By consulting with one of our attorneys at Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck, P.C., you can explore options for holding Philips accountable for manufacturing a dangerous product, its negligence, and failure to warn and to seek compensation for your injuries. Contact our Philadelphia injury attorneys today for a free consultation. 

What Are Philips CPAP Machines and Why Are They Being Recalled?

Philips CPAP machines treat obstructive sleep apnea by delivering continuous air pressure to the sleeping patient through a nose and mask. The air pressure helps to keep the patient’s airways open so their breathing and sleep aren’t interrupted throughout the night.

The recall was initially issued due to issues with the polyester-based polyurethane sound abatement foam. Over time, many patients found that the sound abatement foam in the sleep apnea machines degraded, causing foam particles to flow into the airway. The disintegration of the sound abatement foam also caused outgassing, resulting in patients breathing in carcinogenic chemicals. 

Most of the defective devices that were recalled were CPAP and BiLevel PAP (bi-level positive air pressure) devices that had been rolled out as part of the DreamStation product line. 

Philips never acknowledged the possible health risks of using its CPAP machines in its user manuals, nor did it take any action to rectify the issue until the time of the recall. For some patients who may have already developed serious health issues, including cancer, it was too late. 

The Lack of Substitute Equipment

The CPAP machine recall resulted in a shortage of Philips CPAP devices for patients who need them most. Philips announced that they were commencing repairs and replacement for defective products on September 1, 2021, and hope to complete this process within twelve months. However, more than a dozen machines from Philips Respironics are currently affected by the recall. The New York Times has reported owners of the defective sleep apnea machines have reached out to the company for a remedy and have simply been added to a long waiting list for a replacement or instructed to consult their physician. A spokesman for the company gave no timeline for when replacements would be available and reported that the company is not taking any orders for the machines for new patients.

The American Association for Homecare commissioned a study in April 2020 in which more than half of home medical-equipment suppliers reported that they suffered supply chain interruptions for their CPAP machines. The chief executive of this organization says that the Philips recall has exacerbated these ongoing issues. 

The shortage has been especially trying given that demand for the devices has increased as the Delta variant of the novel coronavirus has surged across the United States. Due to the shortage, patients can expect delays on orders for the foreseeable future. 

If you suffer from sleep apnea and are concerned about the health risks of using a CPAP device in light of the recent recall, stay up to date with the latest Food and Drug Administration (FDA) safety communications here. The FDA has also advised that those sleep apnea patients who continue to use recalled CPAP machines should consult with their physician to determine whether the benefits outweigh the risks of using the device. 

Our Attorneys Can Help

If you developed cancer or suffered other health consequences as a result of using a Philips CPAP machine to treat sleep apnea, then you may qualify to file a lawsuit against Philips. At Eisenberg, Rothweiler, Winkler, Eisenberg & Jeck, P.C., our CPAP attorneys have the skills and experience to stand up to powerful corporations and hold them accountable for their negligence. 

Our attorneys will evaluate your claim, gather evidence to strengthen your case, and aggressively pursue the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation.