Automatic positive airway pressure (APAP) machines are supposed to help those with sleep apnea and similar conditions breathe better during sleep. However, findings suggest that certain APAP and continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines have actually harmed individuals, causing several health problems.
If you or a loved one has used an APAP or CPAP machine and suffered health complications, you may be eligible for compensation. Complete this contact form to find an attorney who can lead your case.
What Are APAP and CPAP Machines Supposed to Do?
You may have received a prescription for an APAP, CPAP, or “Auto” CPAP machine because of sleep apnea.
Note: Certain CPAP machines are branded as “automatic,” which means they may perform similarly to an APAP machine. The defects of both machines may also have similar adverse health effects.
Per Mayo Clinic, sleep apnea causes frequent, abnormal stopping or starting of breathing and can lead to:
- Chronic tiredness
- Headaches upon waking up
- Difficulty sleeping
- Frequent awakening while sleeping, often accompanied by gasping for breath
- Dry mouth
Sleep apnea can interfere with one’s personal and professional lives. Moreover, lack of quality sleep can cause serious short- and long-term health problems.
APAP and CPAP machines may help with sleep apnea. Despite the positive effects that StatPearls and other journals have shown APAP and CPAP machines to have, manufacturers have a duty to disclose risks associated with their products. If a manufacturer violates the duty to detect side effects and warn consumers, they may be liable for resulting harm.
Are There Defects in APAP and CPAP Machines?
Yes, there are defects that make APAP and CPAP machines a danger to those who use them—at least in certain types of machines. Philips is the primary defendant in prominent APAP and CPAP cases, with allegations stemming from the recall of certain Philips devices.
Per the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Philips recalled several devices manufactured between 2009 and April 2021. Recalled devices included versions of Philips’ CPAP and bilevel positive airway pressure (BiPAP) machines, which generally fall under the umbrella of APAP machines.
Allegations of negligence towards Philips center on its use of polyester-based polyurethane (PE-PUR) foam in its APAP machines. This foam can deteriorate and emits dangerous chemicals—both visible and invisible—that put the user at risk. Researchers may discover other manufacturers whose APAP and CPAP machines contain dangerous defects.
If you or a loved one has suffered health problems after using an APAP or CPAP machine, you may speak with an attorney. They can explain whether active litigation involves the model of machine that you’ve used for your sleep apnea.
How Did Philips Fail in Its Duty to Consumers?
Based on the facts as we know them, it appears that Philips:
- May not have conducted the testing necessary to discover its PE-PUR foam would break down and become hazardous with normal use and cleaning of the CPAP and BiPAP devices
- Did not issue any warning about the dangers of PE-PUR foam to those it sold APAP devices to
- May have known about the dangers of PE-PUR foam as many as three years before it issued a recall
In clear terms, Philips stands accused of putting users’ lives at risk by selling unsafe devices.
Health Conditions Linked to Defective APAP and CPAP Machines
Because of the way that Philips used PE-PUR foam in its APAP machines (including CPAP and BiPAP devices), users faced the risk of ingesting or breathing unsafe chemical particles originating from the foam.
Cleaning the device (a reasonable action for any APAP owner to take) and storing the device in hot or humid conditions may accelerate the breakdown of the PE-PUR foam. Health conditions associated with this defect include:
Researchers have tied several cancers to the ingestion of particles in PE-PUR foam, including:
- Bladder cancer
- Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma
- Brain cancer
- Kidney cancer
- Rectal cancer
- Prostate cancer
- Liver cancer
- Breast cancer
- Hematopoietic cancer
- Testicular cancer
- Lymphatic cancer
- Lung cancer
- Multiple myeloma
- Nasal cancer
- Thyroid cancer
- Papillary carcinoma
- Stomach cancer
Any of these cancers can be fatal. Consider seeking compensation if you or a loved one developed any of these cancers, or another form of cancer, after using a Philips APAP machine.
Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS)
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) explains that ARDS causes problems with the lungs, depleting the amount of oxygen in one’s blood. Fluid builds up in the lungs, preventing the patient from breathing as they normally would. ARDS may become life-threatening and will almost certainly impair your quality of life even with proper treatment.
The damage that the chemicals in PE-PUR foam do could cause other lung ailments, including:
- Chronic bronchitis
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
- Other serious lung-related ailments
Health problems affecting the lungs can deprive you of your quality of life, even if they aren’t immediately fatal.
Heart attacks and heart failure are among the cardiovascular problems associated with defective CPAP and BiPAP machines. Dangerous chemicals in your body may put added stress on your heart and cause or exacerbate life-threatening heart problems.
Renal damage and disease prevent your kidneys from functioning as they should. As MedlinePlus explains, these problems may lead to the buildup of dangerous toxins in your body, elevated blood pressure, and other serious health complications.
When a liver suffers damage, your body is less able to rid itself of dangerous toxins, digest food, and participate in healthy biological functions.
Ear, Nose, and Throat Inflammation
Irritation in your ear, nose, and throat may affect all other aspects of your health. These issues may impede your breathing, which could limit your capacity for exercise and exertion. Without an unlimited ability to exercise, you may suffer a variety of health problems.
Reactive Airway Disease (RAD)
Other health conditions may be the result of defects in CPAP or BiPAP machines that you or a loved one used. An attorney handling APAP defect cases will review records, consult their medical experts, and seek justice for your damages.
Researchers may discover more health problems tied to the PE-PUR foam in Philips APAP devices. If you have suffered any health problems and have used a CPAP or BiPAP device of any kind, it may be worth speaking with an attorney.
Potentially Recoverable Damages That APAP Users Have Experienced
There are two broad types of damages among victims of defective APAP devices:
- Non-fatal health problems (or health problems that have not become fatal yet)
- The death of loved ones from health conditions associated with Philips’ defective APAP devices
If you fit either of these criteria, you may recover damages for:
Healthcare costs will be a common damage among every plaintiff in APAP lawsuits. Because serious illnesses are at the heart of these lawsuits, plaintiffs may deserve compensation for:
- Medical imaging services (X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, and other diagnostic imaging procedures)
- In-home care
- All doctors appointments
- End-of-life care
- Wheelchairs and other medical equipment
- Any other medical goods or services resulting from CPAP or BiPAP defects
Each plaintiff will have their own array of medical costs, and a lawsuit may cover all recoverable healthcare expenses.
Pain and Suffering
Though pain and suffering is a non-economic damage, attorneys know how to calculate its monetary cost. This is another loss that will be common among APAP victims like you, as many plaintiffs may experience:
- Physical pain from their illness
- Emotional anguish
- Lost quality of life
- Changes in their physical and cognitive abilities
These are all common consequences of serious illness. Philips or other liable defendants may be responsible for such pain.
Wrongful Death Damages
For plaintiffs whose loved one(s) pass away because of APAP-related health problems, recoverable damages may include medical expenses and pain and suffering, as well as:
- Funeral expenses
- Lost companionship
- Lost guidance (from losing a parent)
- Loss of the decedent’s household value (their ability to complete repairs, clean, and contribute in other ways)
- Lost financial support
- The cost of grief counseling, medication, and other necessary therapies
This list of damages is not rigid. If you have losses aside from those listed here, you will be able to bring them to your attorney’s attention.
How a Personal Injury Attorney Will Help with Your APAP Case
A personal injury attorney will handle your entire APAP case. Your personal circumstances will determine whether this means enrolling you in existing litigation or filing a new, individual lawsuit.
In either case, your attorney may:
- Identify all of your damages: Each plaintiff has a personal set of damages. Your attorney will speak with you, perhaps your loved ones, your doctors, and possibly experts to identify all of your damages.
- Document and calculate your damages: Your lawyer will seek documentation of your damages and assign a monetary figure to them.
- Determine the proper route for your case: An attorney may decide whether a class action lawsuit or an individual lawsuit is best for you. They’ll explain why either course of action could be in your best interest.
- Fight for a fair settlement: Defendants like Philips may settle to avoid the risks of trial. If the defendant feels that they might lose at trial and is willing to compensate plaintiffs fairly, then settling may be a positive outcome for all parties.
- Go to trial: Your attorney should not hesitate to go to trial. Whether because the defendant refuses to settle at all, only offers unfair settlements, or because the attorney believes trial is simply the best route for their clients, your case could end with a jury verdict.
An attorney’s role is to protect their clients’ best interests. On a personal level, having an attorney will allow you to focus on your family, your recovery, and other important affairs. You won’t have to worry about a lawsuit, which can be highly complicated, time-consuming, and mentally taxing.
Will I Have to Pay to Join or Start a CPAP Lawsuit?
No, you will not have to pay to join or start a lawsuit. Attorneys who handle defective product lawsuits generally:
- Require no upfront payment from clients
- Pay the cost of completing the case, from filing fees to the cost of hiring experts, commissioning exhibits, and completing any necessary testing
- Only receive a fee if their clients win
- Receive a fee as a percentage of the settlement or judgment
You may not have to pay out of pocket under any circumstance.
What You Should Know About APAP Litigation
Philips’ recall extended to an estimated 3.5 million APAP devices, which means that there are approximately 3.5 million victims exposed to harm by Philips. Lawyers are actively working to get justice for their clients.
There are several ongoing lawsuits against Philips, with plaintiffs hailing from across the United States. There is at least one ongoing multi-district litigation (MDL), which was in the pretrial phase as of June 2022. There will almost certainly be more MDLs on the horizon, considering the number of individuals affected by dangerous APAP machines.
As the number of plaintiffs increases, you may see:
- An increase in the amount of monetary damages Philips is responsible for
- A greater number of attorneys leading APAP lawsuits, which you may be eligible to join
- A greater number of MDLs that allow plaintiffs from across the country to seek justice for their damages
- More opportunity for you to get justice for your APAP-related damages
In legal terms, it has not been long since Philips issued its recall in June 2021. Lawsuits are underway but still in their early stages. Philips has yet to pay any settlement or verdict related to its APAP recalls but could in the not-so-distant future. You could be a beneficiary of such a payout.
Fill Out This Contact Form to Move Forward with Your APAP Case
Don’t wait to fill out this contact form. It is the first step in pursuing justice for the harm you’ve suffered. If you qualify for an APAP lawsuit, a mass torts lawyer will pursue the financial recovery you need for medical care and other damages. There may be a time limit on joining existing litigation or filing your own suit. Submit this form as soon as possible.
- https://www.resmed.com/en-us/sleep-apnea/sleep-blog/what-is-apap-and-how-is-it-different-than-cpap/ (really solid explanation of APAP, CPAP)
- https://www.rubensteinlaw.com/practice-areas/defective-products-drugs/philips-cpap-recall?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=CPAP (PE-PUR foam breaks down during cleaning, in humidity)
- https://www.lawsuit-information-center.com/cpap-sleep-apnea-mdl.html (estimated 3.5 million recalled devices, updates on litigation, claim that Philips learned of danger of the foam three years before recall)