A Simple Guide to CPAP Lawsuits and Settlements

In June 2021, medical device manufacturer Philips recalled many of their ventilators, constant positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines, and bi-level positive airway pressure (BiPAP) machines. 

This occurred because the devices posed significant health and safety risks to customers. This recall affects consumers who have used these Philips devices to treat sleep apnea. 

Determine Whether Your Make and Model Was Recalled

The following is a comprehensive list of the recalled Philips devices:

Continuous Ventilator

  • Trilogy 100
  • Trilogy 200
  • Garbin Plus, Aeris, LifeVent

Continuous Ventilator, Minimum Ventilatory Support, Facility Use

  • A-Series BiPAP Hybrid A30 (not marketed in US) 
  • A-Series BiPAP V30 Auto
  • E30 (Emergency Use Authorization)

Continuous Ventilator, Non-life Supporting

  • A-Series BiPAP A40
  • A-Series BiPAP A30
  • DreamStation ST, AVAPS
  • SystemOne ASV4
  • C-Series ASV
  • C-Series S/T and AVAPS
  • OmniLab Advanced+

Noncontinuous Ventilator

  • SystemOne (Q-Series)
  • DreamStation
  • DreamStation Go
  • Dorma 400
  • Dorma 500
  • REMstar SE Auto

If you are currently using one of these recalled devices, speak with your physician or Durable Medical Equipment (DME) provider to determine the most appropriate options for continued treatment. They might advise you to stop using the device.

What Is the Role of a Philips CPAP Lawsuit Attorney?

Your Philips CPAP lawsuit attorney can handle the case and seek a fair settlement or verdict for a person injured by a defective Philips CPAP machine. Mass tort and multidistrict litigation often becomes very complex very quickly. 

Proper documents must be promptly filed, legal arguments must be presented, and, in some cases, the lawsuit must go to trial before a judge and jury. 

Attorneys Keep Clients Updated About Their Cases

Although it is the responsibility of an attorney to handle the details of a case without creating an unnecessary burden on the client, it is also the attorney’s responsibility to consult with the client about important decisions in the case. 

The Mass Tort Lawsuit lawyer must keep them updated on all important developments. Your Philips CPAP lawsuit attorney can make sure that you are aware of the status of the case from start to finish.

Attorneys File Documents and Present Arguments for their Clients

Lawsuits require documents, such as complaints, motions, and discovery requests, to be filed within strict deadlines. These documents often have specific requirements that must be met to keep the case moving through the proper court procedures. 

Your attorney can make sure these documents are filed when, where, and how they are supposed to be filed. Additionally, they can present arguments to the court if the contents of the documents are in dispute. 

Attorneys Investigate the Case and Gather Evidence

Any lawsuit requires evidence. Your attorney can investigate the details of your case to determine the strength of your claim. They can also gather evidence, such as medical records, medical bills, lost wage statements, and witness statements. This information can allow them to determine the extent of your injuries and the amount of compensation you could pursue. 

The sooner you retain your attorney, the more thoroughly they can investigate the case. Let them get started on their search for admissible evidence to support your claim.

Attorneys Communicate With Other Parties and the Court

Lawsuits involve communicating with the defendant and their counsel, with third parties such as insurance companies, and with the court in which the lawsuit is filed. Your Philips CPAP attorney can communicate with these parties on your behalf. 

They will communicate about details such as discovering evidence, scheduling hearings in the case, and negotiating settlement offers. If the case goes to trial, they will communicate on your behalf to the judge and/or jury to prove your case and fight for the fairest verdict possible. 

Attorneys Determine the Value of the Lawsuit

Many factors that go into determining the value of a lawsuit. Your lawsuit attorney can help determine the compensation you could recover. They do this by examining these factors:

  • Medical care and treatment 
  • Physical therapy and rehabilitation
  • Medications
  • Assistive devices 
  • Lost income
  • Projected future lost income
  • Property damage
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional damage
  • Diminished quality of life 

If the lawsuit is based on the wrongful death of a loved one, such as a spouse, child, or parent, additional factors must be considered, such as:

  • Funeral and/or burial costs
  • Medical debts
  • Loss of financial support
  • Loss of consortium (being deprived of the presence of the deceased loved one)
  • Loss of parental guidance, love, and affection
  • Loss of inheritance
  • Pain and suffering, to the deceased loved one and the surviving family 

What Is the Problem With Philips CPAP and BiPAP Machines?

The recalled Philips machines use polyester-based polyurethane (PE-PUR) foam to reduce noise when operating. This type of foam carries several risks. First, small pieces of foam may dislodge from the machine and end up in the airway path, where the user can inhale them. 

These foam particulates can cause a variety of medical problems. Second, PE-PUR foam can give off invisible, toxic, and cancer-causing fumes as it degrades through a process called “off-gassing.” 

If you were injured or lost a loved one because of using one of the recalled devices, you could file a Philips CPAP machine lawsuit and pursue financial compensation from the manufacturer.  

What Injuries Are Associated With Philips CPAP Machines?

The health risks of using the recalled Philips CPAP machines come from two main sources. 

Foam particles can break loose and end up in the airway path of the machine, causing the user to inhale dangerous compounds that form as the PE-PUR foam deteriorates. These solid particles can irritate the respiratory tract. They also contain known cancer-causing agents.

Gaseous chemicals can also be released as the PE-PUR foam breaks down. This process is referred to as “off-gassing.” These toxic fumes are much more difficult to detect than foam particles but can cause even greater health problems to the person inhaling them.

PE-PUR Foam Particles

Polyester-based polyurethane (PE-PUR) foam is considered safe for handling with your hands. For example, when workers in a factory that produces PE-PUR foam touch the product, they are generally not required to wear protective equipment. PE-PUR foam is most commonly found in household furniture, including sofas and recliners. 

However, it is not safe to inhale PE-PUR foam particles. Philips states that when PE-PUR foam degrades and breaks down, it can create small toxic particles including diethylene glycol (DEG), toluene diamine isomers (TDA), and toluene diisocyanate isomers (TDI). These particles have appeared as small, black pieces of debris in the device outlets, humidifiers, tubing, and masks of the machines. 

Machines that have been used in high-temperature, high humidity environments, and devices that have been cleaned using certain methods (such as ozone cleaning) are more likely to produce these particles.

People who use CPAP machines tend to use them every night as a treatment for sleep apnea. As a result, users of the recalled devices have potentially breathed in these toxic particles over long periods. The more exposure to these particles, the higher the risk of serious injury and illness. Prolonged exposure to toxic PE-PUR particles or off-gassing could cause:

  • Skin, eye, and respiratory tract irritation (damage to the lungs)
  • Asthma
  • Chest pressure
  • Headache
  • Coughing
  • Sinus infection
  • Hypersensitivity
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Toxic and carcinogenic effects to organs

Toxic Fumes From Off-Gassing

In addition to creating toxic particles, the breakdown of PE-PUR foam results in a process called “off-gassing.” As the foam degrades, it releases invisible, odorless gasses the device’s user breathes in when the gasses enter the airway path of the machine. 

The most dangerous chemical produced by PE-PUR off-gassing is dimethyl diazene, also known as azomethane. Although there is limited data available on azomethane, the oxide of azomethane known as azoxymethane is a carcinogen and has been shown to cause:

  • Tumors in the central nervous system
  • Colon cancer
  • Intestinal cancer
  • Liver cancer
  • Lung cancer
  • Stomach cancer
  • Fetal death

The Severity of Your Injuries Depends on the Kind of Ventilator You Used

Among the recalled devices are continuous ventilators and noncontinuous ventilators

According to 21 CFR § 868.5895, a continuous ventilator is defined as a device intended to mechanically control or assist patient breathing by delivering a predetermined percentage of oxygen in the breathing gas. Adult, pediatric, and neonatal ventilators are included in this generic type of device.

According to 21 CFR § 868.5905, a noncontinuous ventilator is defined as a device intended to intermittently deliver an aerosol to a patient’s lungs or to assist a patient’s breathing. 

What Is the Status of Philips CPAP Lawsuits?

Attorneys across the country are currently accepting Philips CPAP lawsuits. These lawsuits fall into the category of mass torts litigation. This type of litigation occurs when many plaintiffs with similar injuries all sue the same defendant—in this case, Philips. Because the evidence in these cases is likely to be similar, the lawsuits have been brought together in a single district in federal court. 

This is referred to as a multidistrict litigation, or MDL. Each lawsuit in the MDL remains its own, individual case, and the plaintiffs are each represented by their own lawyers. The Philips CPAP lawsuit MDL was formed on October 8, 2021 and is being overseen by the Honorable Joy Flowers Conti in the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. 

Many Philips device users are anticipated to take legal action.

Did Philips Know Its CPAP Machines Were Dangerous?

Philips has admitted that the PE-PUR foam particles and off-gassed chemicals in the recalled CPAP machines were toxic: once in its initial recall notice, and again in a clinical information update. This goes a long way toward proving that the company should take responsibility for the defective machines. 

Defendants in mass tort lawsuits often try to downplay the dangers of the chemicals to which the plaintiffs were exposed. Philips has made proving this element much easier by admitting that its machines contain dangerous chemicals.

In addition, there is significant evidence that Philips was aware that the recalled CPAP machines were dangerous as early as 2016. According to an investigation by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), there were at least fourteen reports between April 2016 and January 2021 stating that CPAP machines were giving off toxic particles and gasses. 

The investigation concluded that Philips did not adequately respond to these reports and did not conduct proper risk assessments. These findings present strong evidence that Philips allowed its customers to keep using the recalled machines despite knowing the serious health risks they created.

Fill Out Our Contact Form Today So You Can Begin Working With Your Lawyer

If you were injured or lost a loved one as a result of using one of the recalled devices, you could file a Philips CPAP machine lawsuit and pursue financial compensation from the manufacturer. Your attorney can aid you significantly in this process.

Fill out our contact form today to get connected with your Philips CPAP lawsuit attorney and discuss your case. A product liability lawyer serving your area can help you build a case against Philips and pursue compensation from the company.