For mild cases of sleep apnea, lifestyle changes can address detrimental symptoms. However, many people with sleep apnea will need to turn to therapies like CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure). With any medical device, people assume that the manufacturers have done their due diligence in ensuring their effectiveness and safety. However, manufacturer negligence can sometimes lead to deadly consequences.
In June 2021, Philips announced a recall of millions of their Philips Respironics sleep and respiratory care devices, noting a potential health risk. By April 2023, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) upgraded the recall to a Class I recall, warning that the faulty machines “may fail to deliver any therapy at all.…Incorrect therapy or therapy failure may lead [to] several health conditions such as respiratory failure, heart failure, serious injury, and death.” If you have used a Philips sleep apnea device for any amount of time and have subsequently been diagnosed with lung damage, a respiratory condition, or cancer, you may be entitled to financial compensation.
If you or a loved one have been negatively impacted by the Philips CPAP device defects, the expert personal injury lawyers at Pond Lehocky Giordano LLP are ready to help. Our talented team has over 250 years of combined courtroom cases and over 100,000 cases won. We have more than proven our competence in contending with major corporations, opposing legal counsel, and insurance companies. You and your family deserve to face the future with confidence. Our lawyers can help ensure that you recover damages for past, current, and future medical care as well as damages like lost wages, lost earning potential, wrongful death, and more. To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with our expert medical device recall lawyers, call 1-800-568-7500 or fill out our contact form today.
What caused the Philips CPAP Recall?
The initial recall in June 2021 of over 4 million CPAP, BiPAP, and mechanical ventilator machines was initiated by Philips after they determined that the foam used in some devices to reduce vibrations or sounds quickly degraded and showed signs of chemical emissions. The polyester-based polyurethane (PE-PUR) would break down into small particles, entering the devices’ air tubes and potentially getting inhaled by users.
In their announcement of the recall, Philips stated that lab analysis revealed the presence of harmful chemicals in these devices including toluene diamine, toluene diisocyanate, and diethylene glycol – all known irritants and carcinogens – as well as other Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) that could result in both short- and long-term adverse health effects. Philips recalled the following CPAP and BiLevel PAP devices (all manufactured before April 26, 2021):
- DreamStation ASV
- DreamStation ST, AVAPS
- SystemOne ASV4
- C-Series ASV
- C-Series S/T and AVAPS
- OmniLab Advanced+
- SystemOne (Q-Series)
- DreamStation Go
- Dorma 400
- Dorma 500
- REMstar SE Auto
Philips also recalled the following mechanical ventilators, also manufactured before April 26, 2021:
- Trilogy 100
- Trilogy 200
- Garbin Plus, Aeris, LifeVent
- A-Series BiPAP Hybrid A30 (not marketed in US)
- A-Series BiPAP V30 Auto
- A-Series BiPAP A40 (not marketed in the US)
- A-Series BiPAP A30 (not marketed in the US)
Several different factors can contribute to the degradation of PE-PUR foam. According to the National Institutes of Health, polyester polyurethane is quite easily broken down by common bacteria. Other studies show that the material is also susceptible to degradation by fungi, heat, moisture, sunlight, and oxygen. High humidity or ambient temperature could easily spur foam degradation in these Philips sleep apnea devices. Cleaning methods not recommended by the manufacturer can also hasten the breakdown of PE-PUR foam.
While it may appear that Philips was quite forthcoming in their recall, many allege that it was less than timely. In fact, their initial announcement of the recall seems to coincide with the release of their next-generation sleep apnea devices that notably do not suffer from the same issues with PE-PUR foam. In September 2021, the FDA approved a “repair-and-replace” program for the Philips devices, allowing Philips to replace the PE-PUR foam in these devices with a new, silicone-based alternative. However, the FDA quickly reversed its approval when new evidence showed that the silicone-based alternative also posed health risks.
Philips CPAP lawsuits claim cancer and other health risks
According to the FDA, inhalation of PE-PUR foam particles can result in “serious injury, cause permanent impairment, and require medical intervention to prevent permanent injury to users.” Risks of inhaling or swallowing pieces of PE-PUR foam can include:
- Inflammatory response
- Toxic or carcinogenic effects to organs such as the lungs, kidneys, and liver
- Irritation to the eyes, nose, skin, and airway (respiratory tract)
The gaseous chemicals released into the device’s air tubes also have a range of similar adverse health effects, including:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Irritation in the eyes, nose, skin, and airway (respiratory tract)
- Toxic or carcinogenic effects
Over the course of the last few years, numerous medical device reports (MDRs) about affected Philips devices have been submitted to the FDA. Since April 2021, the FDA has received a staggering 98,000 MDRs, all associated with PE-PUR foam breakdown. 346 of these reports indicate that the user of the device died as a result of device defects. Injuries reported in these MDRs include “cancer, pneumonia, asthma, other respiratory problems, infection, headache, cough, dyspnea (difficulty breathing), dizziness, nodules, and chest pain.”
In total, Philips only submitted 30 MDRs between 2011 and 2021 that they associated with PE-PUR foam degradation. None of these reports included any details about patient injury or death.
Flood of litigation spurs Philips CPAP MDL class action lawsuit
By November 2021, over 114 CPAP lawsuits were pending in federal court, prompting the MDL class action panel to move forward with a unified CPAP class action lawsuit. Shortly afterwards, Judge Joy Flowers Conti ordered Philips Respironics to preserve evidence that could be pertinent to this trial – apparently, Philips could not be trusted to investigate the products that had been returned to them.
Frequently asked questions about the CPAP recall lawsuit
Is there a deadline for filing a Philips CPAP recall lawsuit?
To pursue a CPAP lawsuit against Philips, it is crucial to file the claim before the statute of limitations (“SOL”) expires. The SOL deadline varies by state and can range anywhere from one to six years.
In the case of a CPAP or BiPAP device lawsuit, the SOL may begin on June 14, 2021, which is when Philips announced the CPAP recall. However, the SOL deadline varies by state. For instance, if your state has a two-year SOL, your deadline for filing a lawsuit may be June 14, 2023.
It is important to note that the rules governing deadlines to sue have numerous exceptions. These statutes of limitations exceptions can shorten or extend your obligation to file a CPAP lawsuit or provide notice of your intention to do so. Thus, it is imperative to seek guidance from a CPAP lawyer to verify the deadline to file a lawsuit for your claim. An experienced CPAP lawyer can help you navigate the complexities of the legal system and ensure that you do not miss any important deadlines that may impact your case.
Will I qualify for the Philips CPAP lawsuit?
Individuals who used one of the recalled sleep apnea machines and have been diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis, other respiratory health problems, or cancer may have the legal grounds to file a lawsuit against Philips and potentially receive financial compensation for the damages they have suffered. The compensation awarded in a CPAP lawsuit may cover a range of damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other related losses.
What types of damages could the CPAP lawsuit entail?
Individuals who suffered lung damage, cancer, or other severe injuries after using Philips apnea devices may be eligible for financial compensation through a Philips Respironics lawsuit. This compensation may cover a variety of damages, including:
- Past, current, and future medical bills
- Lost wages and future lost earnings
- Past and future pain and suffering, mental anguish, and emotional stress
In cases where the court finds the defendant’s behavior as egregious, punitive damages may be awarded. Furthermore, if a person dies due to medical complications related to a Philips CPAP machine, their family can file a wrongful death lawsuit to recover compensation for the loss of financial and emotional support.
Do I need a lawyer for the Philips CPAP recall lawsuit?
Filing a CPAP lawsuit can be complex, and it is crucial to have the support and guidance of a qualified CPAP lawyer to ensure that your legal rights are protected. An experienced CPAP lawyer can help you understand the legal process, gather evidence to support your case, and negotiate with the defendants to secure a fair settlement or judgment. If you believe you have suffered harm from using a recalled CPAP machine, it is advisable to consult with a CPAP lawyer to explore your legal options and determine the best course of action for your individual situation.
How much does it cost to hire a lawyer for the Philips CPAP lawsuit?
It is not uncommon for individuals to avoid seeking legal representation due to concerns about the cost. However, the team at Pond Lehocky Giordano LLP understands that a serious injury or illness can bring financial hardship, and we are committed to helping our clients without adding to their financial burden. That is why we take all cases on a contingency fee basis.
Under this arrangement, you will not be responsible for any legal fees unless we secure a financial settlement on your behalf. Our payment will come from an agreed-upon percentage of your final award, meaning that you will not have to pay any out-of-pocket costs. This contingency fee arrangement enables our clients to focus on their recovery and pursuing justice, without worrying about the financial implications of legal representation.
We believe that everyone deserves access to high-quality legal representation, regardless of their financial situation. We are dedicated to helping our clients recover the compensation they deserve for their injuries and losses, and we will fight tirelessly on their behalf. If you have been injured due to someone else’s negligence, do not hesitate to contact us for a free consultation to discuss your legal options.
Contact us today for a free case evaluation
To help maximize your chances of recovering damages for the suffering you have experienced due to the defects in Philips CPAP and BiPAP devices, it’s critical to have an expert medical device recall legal team involved. Our personal injury lawyers manage Philips CPAP recall lawsuits in all 50 states. We offer free consultations with our attorneys so that we can help you better understand your legal options and the strength of your case. For more information, call Pond Lehocky Giordano LLP at 1-800-568-7500 or fill out our contact form today.