CPAP machines, also known as continuous positive airway pressure machines, are potentially life-saving devices used by millions of individuals who suffer from sleep apnea.
Through a mask, the device provides constant airflow to individuals that may stop breathing while they sleep. It allows sufferers of sleep apnea to get more restful and productive sleep by reducing the episodes of apnea through the night and helping to reduce the risk of other health ailments that can develop when an individual has untreated sleep apnea.
Unfortunately, when defective, these same CPAP machines can create a dangerous situation for users that may put their health at risk. In recent years, CPAP machines developed by one company, Philips, have come under fire, and lawsuits are beginning to pile up against them. Most recently, a plaintiff alleged a new type of cancer occurred because of his past use of the recalled CPAP machines.
According to Pending Litigation, There Could Be a Link to Mouth Cancer From Defective Philips CPAP Machines
In December 2022, a plaintiff from New York filed a lawsuit against Philips, the manufacturer of CPAP machines alleging that they developed oral cancer due to their use of the defective CPAP machines, part of a previous recall.
Pending litigation against the CPAP manufacturer alleges various injuries and other types of cancer as part of a class action lawsuit. However, this claim, in particular, is one of the first instances where a victim alleges oral cancer developed because of their use of the machines. This lawsuit may open the door for many more claims against the CPAP device manufacturer for injuries relating to CPAP use potentially leading to mouth, tongue, and other oral cancers.
How Does the Victim Allege the CPAP Device Can Lead to Cancer?
As part of their claim against Philips, the plaintiff in the pending lawsuit alleges that they used several CPAP machine products manufactured by Philips beginning in 2011 and throughout 2021 when the device recall occurred due to the risk of possible hazardous health effects, including cancer.
In 2015, four years after the victim began using Philips CPAP devices, the victim developed mouth cancer, leading to a battle of recurring mouth cancer that stretched throughout 2022. The filing alleges that it was not until Philips issued a recall in 2021 that the plaintiff suspected his mouth cancer may have developed from his prolonged use of the manufacturer’s CPAP products.
In the filing, the plaintiff alleges that their cancer developed because of the degradation of the PE-PUR foam components of the CPAP devices he was using. The plaintiff indicates that he did not know about the risks of PE-PUR foam debris entering his body and threatening his health. In addition, the plaintiff alleges that Philips was aware of the issue for some time and failed to warn consumers such as him of the potential problems involving the CPAP machine and the degrading foam that could harm their health.
Did Phillips Know About Health Risks From Their CPAP Devices?
Although the plaintiff in the litigation previously mentioned and many of the alleged victims in other pending litigation against Philips were unaware of the health risks from their CPAP use, it appears that Philips knew about problems involving the foam inside many of their CPAP devices as early as 2015.
Although Philips knew the foam issues were occurring and they received complaints regarding the issue, they did not take any action until 2021 when an official recall finally occurred because the company alleged to have, at that point, discovered the foam contained carcinogenic materials.
The foam components of the CPAP machine appear to be the basis of most of the complaints filed against the manufacturer. The victims allege that their injuries and illnesses developed because of the inhalation of the foam particles that broke down over time when using the Philips CPAP devices. Philips revealed that this foam could cause a wide range of injuries when it broke apart from pressure from the CPAP machine.
What CPAP Machines By Philips Are Under Recall for Possible Risks to Users?
In 2021, various CPAP models, as well as certain ventilators and BiPAP machines manufactured by Philips, became part of an immediate recall of these products due to the dangers to users associated with the PE-PUR foam. The recall states that the foam components of these devices could come apart and, in turn, you could inhale or ingest them. Additionally, the recall notes that you cannot see these hazardous chemicals used in the foam.
The recalled Philips machines include these models manufactured from 2009 until April 2021:
- Trilogy 100
- Trilogy 200
- DreamStation ASV
- DreamStation Go
- DreamStation ST, AVAPS
- A-Series BiPAP A30
- A-Series BiPAP A40
- A-Series BiPAP Hybrid A30
- A-Series BiPAP V30 Auto
- C-Series ASV
- C-Series S/T and AVAPS
- Dorma 400
- Dorma 500
- Garbin Plus, Aeris, LifeVent
- OmniLab Advanced+
- SystemOne ASV4
- SystemOne (Q-Series)
- REMstar SE Auto
What Injuries Could the Defective CPAP Machines Cause to Users?
Although the focus of the recent lawsuit by the New York plaintiff alleges the development of mouth cancer from CPAP usage, there are other illnesses and injuries that could occur from the use of the affected CPAP devices from 2009 until 2021.
Philips and the FDA received tens of thousands of complaints relating to injuries and problems with the affected CPAP devices, with some reports indicating complaints to Philips could be in the hundreds of thousands reaching back to 2008.
The injuries alleged in these complaints include a wide range of illnesses and conditions the victims believe occurred because of the defective CPAP machines and the foam inside these devices. Some of the individuals using the CPAP machine may have inhaled actual pieces of the PE-PUR foam, while others may have inhaled particles or dust, as reported in some of the complaints filed by users.
Illnesses, injuries, or conditions that may develop after the use of the defective CPAP devices include:
- Mouth cancer
- Tongue cancer
- Lung cancer
- Breast cancer
- Brain cancer
- Thyroid cancer
- Stomach cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Blood cancer, including leukemia
- Multiple myeloma
- Damage to organs such as liver or kidney failure
- Respiratory irritation and long-term breathing issues
How Many People Developed Illness or Injury from Their CPAP Use?
It is impossible to pinpoint the precise number of individuals that suffered an injury due to the use of defective CPAP devices and foam degradation. For years before Philips issued a recall, many users filed complaints about their devices and experience related to the CPAP machines.
While the development of irritation and nausea may happen in the immediate moments following the use of a defective CPAP, most illnesses and injuries develop over prolonged use and exposure. Additionally, many users who experienced illness or injury may not have identified that the source of their condition may have been the CPAP devices.
Although we cannot identify an exact number of individuals that suffered some form of injury from the defective CPAP machines recalled by Philips, we can report the figures relating to the number of machines on the market at the time and the complaints and claims following the revelation of potential cancer-causing elements and hazards of the machines.
The Philips manufacturer reports that nearly four million sleep and respiratory care devices, including CPAP, have been replaced or repaired since the date of the recall in June 2021. These machines could have been on the market since 2009, when foam degradation issues began, through 2021.
Two million of those replaced devices are to consumers within the U.S. This is a potentially staggering number of people that could have suffered exposure in the U.S., and the number could potentially be higher as these are only individuals who, at the time of recall, were able to request a new device from the manufacturer.
Some victims could have developed severe medical issues relating to the PE-PUR form and died before the recall.
What Victims May Qualify for Compensation for Injuries Caused by the CPAP Devices?
If you or a loved one used a CPAP machine manufactured by Philips and it is one of the machines recalled by the company as listed above in 2021, you may be eligible for compensation.
To pursue compensation as a potential victim of the defective CPAP made by Philips, you must have suffered some injury. If you developed cancer, organ damage, or organ failure after using the Philips CPAP machine, you might qualify for compensation against the responsible parties.
How Much Compensation is Available to Victims Harmed by a CPAP Machine?
Monetary compensation for your injuries is not guaranteed. Still, with the help of an attorney, you can determine whether you may be eligible for compensation and how to proceed against the parties responsible for your illness or medical condition.
Claims against Philips are building from victims suffering injuries. A class action lawsuit is developing as more and more victims come forward to file lawsuits against the manufacturer after suffering harm due to the defective nature of the CPAP machines and the PE-PUR foam used in the devices.
The amount of money that could be available to a victim suffering injury from a defective Philips CPAP machine varies greatly. Factors under consideration for settlement amounts include the type of injury the victim sustained, the resulting impact of those injuries on the victim’s life and lifespan, and the treatment necessary for the injuries incurred. For example, individuals with injuries, such as the New York plaintiff with mouth cancer suffering recurring incidences of cancer, may see higher settlement amounts than an individual who suffered a short-term health incident that resolved with treatment.
The more long-term complications and impacts on a person’s physical health, the higher the potential settlement amounts. Regardless of the severity of the injury, however, an individual harmed by defective Philips CPAP machines may be eligible for compensation for their losses.
Damages that may be recoverable as part of a defective CPAP lawsuit may include:
- Medical costs for treatment and future treatment you may need for your condition
- Loss of income or earnings that results due to the limitations established by your injuries
- Your physical, mental, and emotional pain and suffering accompanying your injury and during your medical treatment
- Wrongful death damages in cases where a loved one died from the injuries related to the CPAP use
Is a Lawyer Necessary to File a Claim for Your CPAP-Related Damages?
Consider hiring an attorney to handle your claim against Philips regarding your CPAP-related injuries. The litigation against Philips will likely become a class action matter involving potentially thousands of claimants. You do not want your case to get lost in the mass filings against Philips.
Hiring an attorney can ensure you remain a priority and informed on the developments of the litigation against the manufacturer. A lawyer working for your interests will fight for the compensation you may be eligible for in the case and under the law. With a lawyer, you can rest assured knowing you are not at the mercy of the manufacturer’s lawyers but have a voice to advocate for your rights and to maximize your recovery.
What Type of Lawyer Can Help You with a CPAP Claim or Lawsuit?
When going up against a manufacturer and corporation as prominent as Philips, you will need a lawyer with a reputable nationwide firm that has the knowledge, experience, and background to represent in what is likely to be a significant civil lawsuit involving numerous plaintiffs. Contact an experienced product liability lawyer to fight for you.