Philips CPAP Lawsuit | Sleep Apnea CPAP and BiPAP Machine Lawsuit

A Simple Guide to CPAP Lawsuits and Settlements

Philips, a medical device manufacturer based in the Netherlands, initiated a voluntary recall notification in June 2021 for several bi-level positive airway pressure (BiPAP), continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), and mechanical ventilator devices the company produces. The recall affects people in both the United States and Europe who use these products to treat their sleep apnea.

These recalled breathing devices contain polyester-based polyurethane (PE-PUR) sound abatement foam, which degrades into small particles that have carcinogenic effects if inhaled or ingested. If you or a loved one developed serious health problems after using one of Philips’ recalled CPAP machines, you may qualify to file a Philips CPAP lawsuit against the manufacturer and pursue compensation for your injuries.

Check this list to see whether Philips recalled your CPAP or BiPAP machine product

Philips sent out a recall on several medical devices used to treat obstructive sleep apnea. Each breathing device mentioned uses PE-PUR foam and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can lead to cancer and other serious health conditions if inhaled.

Patients who own and use any of the recalled items should stop use immediately and consult their physician for further instruction on treatment and potential health problems.

Recalled CPAP and BiPAP devices

If you used one or more of the following CPAP, BiPAP, or ventilator devices, you may have grounds to file a defective product lawsuit against Philips:

  • DreamStation ASV
  • DreamStation GO CPAP, APAP
  • DreamStation CPAP, Auto CPAP, BiPAP
  • DreamStation ST, AVAPS
  • Dorma 400 CPAP
  • Dorma 500 CPAP
  • REMStar SE Auto CPAP
  • C Series ASV
  • C Series S/T and AVAPS
  • SystemOne ASV4
  • SystemOne (Q-Series)
  • E30 (Emergency Use Authorization)
  • OmniLab Advanced Plus (In-Lab Titration Device)

This list includes all devices manufactured before April 26, 2021, based on when Philips sent out a company report on its first quarter results.

Continuous ventilators that may be used as alternatives

Philips did not recall every CPAP, BiPAP, and ventilator device they have out in the market, so there are alternatives that patients can use to treat their sleep apnea, such as:

  • Trilogy 100 Ventilator
  • Trilogy 200 Ventilator
  • BiPAP V30 Auto Ventilator (A-Series)

Philips listed other alternative continuous ventilator devices; however, these devices are not marketed in the United States.

Other Philips products do not use the same sound abatement materials or technologies as the recalled items, so patients can continue to use these products. These items include:

  • Trilogy Evo, Evo OBM, EV300, and 202
  • DreamStation 2 Auto CPAP Advanced and DreamStation 2 Auto CPAP
  • OmniLab and OmniLan Advanced Titration devices
  • REMStar SE and Sleep Easy CPAPs
  • V60, V60 Plus, and V680 Ventilators
  • A-Series Pro and EFL
  • Respironics M-Series REMStar CPAPs, Auto CPAPs, and BiPAPs

If you are unsure what make and model your product is, you can consult your physician to review which products you are using for treatment.

PE-PUR foam degradation can cause side effects, including cancer

In response to Philips’ CPAP machine recall, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also sent out a notice to people in the United States about the recall and provided more information about the health risks attached to the medical devices. The FDA also initiated inspections on Philips Respironics’ manufacturing facilities to limit as much potential for product defects as possible. 

According to the FDA, the ventilator, Bi-PAP, and CPAP machines recalled may cause side effects such as:

  • Cancer
  • Organ damage, such as to the kidneys or liver
  • Inflammation
  • Irritation in the respiratory tract, eyes, and skin
  • Asthma and other breathing difficulties
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headaches and dizziness
  • Hypersensitivity

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, consult your physician and inform them about the breathing device you use, as it may be related to your health. At the time of the FDA’s notice (June 2021), there were already more than 1200 filed complaints about Philips’ Respironics products and 100 filed injury reports.

A CPAP attorney can help you build a case against Philips

After Philips recalled millions of its sleep apnea medical devices, law firms across the United States are now searching for affected individuals who might qualify to file a class action lawsuit against the manufacturer. 

Whether you or a loved one has already developed negative side effects due to long-term use of one or more of Philips’ products or you could be at risk of serious health consequences later on, a lawyer near you can represent your case and help you hold the manufacturer liable. 

A lawyer can calculate the value of your case by assessing your damages

With a defective product case, you can pursue compensation for your injuries and related damages from Philips. Your personal injury lawyer will review your damages and categorize them based on whether they have a financial value (economic damages) or must be assigned one (non-economic damages). This aspect of building your case is crucial, as it determines how much compensation you should pursue based on your current and potential losses.

In short, economic damages include all financial losses you suffered because of your injuries. For example, if you developed lung cancer as a result of using one of the recalled DreamStation CPAP machines, then you may qualify to pursue compensation for:

  • Medical care costs, like costs for chemotherapy, prescription medicines, diagnostic exams, emergency room treatment, hospitalization, and surgeries
  • Medical equipment costs, such as costs to replace your CPAP machine and other support devices since developing cancer, like oxygen tanks
  • Income loss related to missing work to get treatment for your injuries or because of limitations that prevent you from working
  • Future income loss if your injuries are long-term or permanent (e.g., permanent organ damage that rendered you disabled)

Non-economic damages encompass physical and emotional injuries, which are subjective. Law firms vary their approach to measuring these damages, but your legal team can explain their process for evaluating your non-economic damages. The goal is to reach a value that reflects the overall impact of the plaintiff’s injuries on their life, which can include:

  • Pain and suffering, both physical and emotional pain
  • Permanent disability, such as permanent respiratory problems
  • Loss of enjoyment in hobbies and activities, such as sports and regular exercise
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Emotional distress, which includes depression and anxiety
  • Physical disfigurement, which includes scarring from surgical procedures

Our examples are not the only forms of compensable damages, so your personal injury attorney may suggest other damages to include in your demand letter for compensation.

Law firms often provide other services to help clients build their cases

If you have never filed a personal injury case, you don’t have to attempt to navigate the claims or litigation process on your own. A lawyer who handles product liability cases can manage your Philips CPAP lawsuit for you and lead their team to collect information that supports your case against the manufacturer.

Many law firms offer to:

  • Investigate your case: If you suspect your sleep apnea device released PE-PUR foam particles into the open air paths of the device and caused you to develop side effects, our team can review the device’s serial number to see if it qualifies with the recall. We may also consult your medical records or care providers with your permission to see if there is a connection.
  • Collect evidence that supports your claims: Once we establish a correlation that holds Philips liable for your injuries, we will help you gather evidence. This evidence can include your medical records, product test results, video footage, and expert witness analysis, among other documentation.
  • File paperwork on your behalf: Litigation often involves extensive paperwork that can be confusing and difficult to comprehend for those unfamiliar with legal jargon or procedures. Your lawyer can interpret and fill out the required forms for your case and submit them by their deadlines for you, including the Philips CPAP lawsuit with your state’s court system.
  • Communicate with involved parties on your behalf: Once you send a letter of notice about your intention to sue, the manufacturer’s legal team may reach out to you for a statement or to settle your case. Handling these communications yourself might put you at risk of admitting partial fault or undervaluing your case. Instead, you can refer any inquiring parties to your CPAP lawsuit attorney for response and protect your case in the process.
  • Negotiate a potential settlement: Whether you file an insurance claim or product liability lawsuit, your injury attorney may make efforts to avoid going to court altogether and reach out to the other party to negotiate a settlement. They can attend meetings on your behalf to advocate for your interests and then inform you about any settlement offers you receive. You have the final word, so you decide whether to accept a deal or continue negotiating.
  • Represent you in trial: If you decide to pursue a case in court, your personal injury lawyer will serve as your legal representative and present you in trial to a judge and jury. Here, you will get a verdict, which determines whether you receive compensation or not for your injuries.

As a client, you can refer to your lawyer to ask questions or express concerns about your case and you will receive guidance on what the legal process entails, options you have to move forward, and realistic projections for your case.

You will receive guidance from your lawyer as you navigate the litigation process

Personal injury lawyers navigate all sorts of cases and build strategies based on the cases they’ve handled. Regarding your Philips medical device lawsuit, you may refer to your CPAP lawsuit lawyer for guidance involving:

  • Whether you should file an individual lawsuit or join a mass tort: Mass torts involve similar but individual cases against one defendant, usually with plaintiffs being from the same geographic area. Their claims typically go through multidistrict litigation (MDL) as a way to consolidate actions filed against one defendant. Your lawyer can describe the pros and cons of joining a mass tort and also explain options to file individually.
  • Whether you should file a personal injury lawsuit or insurance claim: Some plaintiffs opt to file an insurance claim to avoid going to trial. Your lawyer can explain whether you qualify to file a personal injury lawsuit instead and whether it might be in your interest to do so.
  • What’s considered a “fair” settlement offer: You do not want to risk undervaluing your case, so while thousands of dollars might sound appealing now, it might not be enough if your injuries put you through a lifetime of medical costs that exceed the offer you receive. Your lawyer can calculate your approximate damages and use this figure to measure when you should consider an offer or keep negotiating for more compensation.

Each defective product case brings its own unique circumstances, so you may have personal questions, which your lawyer can address after becoming familiar with your case.

Your time is limited if you want to file a personal injury lawsuit against Philips

Many states set a statute of limitations on personal injury cases, which limits the timeframe plaintiffs have to file lawsuits against defendants. If you would like to file a lawsuit against Philips about an injury caused by one of its products, consult your attorney about your case’s filing deadline.

You do not want to miss your case’s filing deadline as it could jeopardize your ability to pursue compensation. Once a judge dismisses a case, whether upon reviewing it or after the defendant requests a dismissal, you will be barred from pursuing compensation through the court system and then lose any legal leverage against Philips.

This outcome can limit your ability to keep negotiating a settlement, as you won’t have the threat of a lawsuit on your side.

How does a CPAP machine work?

Because sleep apnea is a health condition that involves breathing obstruction during sleep, the prime objective of CPAP and related machines is to prevent users from experiencing airway blockages so that they can sleep fully throughout the night.

CPAP machines produce a steady flow of oxygen through their pumping systems and blow purified air through tubing into the user’s nose and/or mouth. The user generally must wear a mask to attach the tubing to their nose and/or mouth, though masks vary by machine type.

What is the difference between CPAP and BiPAP machines?

The differences between CPAP and BiPAP machines include:

  • Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines: These machines send out purified air at one air pressure level so that it remains steady throughout the evening. Users must manually reset settings if they want to change the air pressure level.
  • Bi-level positive airflow pressure (BiPAP) machines: People who cannot sleep well with CPAP machines may use BiPAP machines instead, which exchanges between two different air pressure levels for inhalation and exhalation. BiPAP machines can also report backup respiratory rates for people who suffer from central sleep apnea, which can help people breathe better, per Healthline.

With the Philips-brand CPAP, BiPAP, and ventilator machines, the issue is not in how the machines produce air for users but in the materials surrounding the mechanisms. If your sleep apnea machine is experiencing mechanical dysfunctions that prevent it from working properly at night, you may qualify for a separate defective product lawsuit concerning those errors. If so, a lawyer may review your case and explain your legal options.

Why are the Philips CPAP machines considered unsafe for sleep apnea patients?

Philips’ recall applies to its CPAP, BiPAP, and ventilator machines that use polyester-based polyurethane (PE-PUR), which is a sound abatement foam. This foam helps reduce noise made by the sleep apnea machines, which allows users to sleep better and with less disturbance from vibration.

However, the issues with the PE-PUR foam used in the recalled products is that:

  • PE-PUR breaks down into small particles over time.
  • These particles can slip into the medical devices’ air passageways, such as through the tubing or the air pump system.
  • Users can inhale or ingest the particles while sleeping and thus without realizing. 
  • These particles contain chemicals that have carcinogenic effects when introduced to the body. The particles can also cause irritation and damage throughout users’ respiratory tracts, which include the nose, throat, and lungs.

The FDA also noted in its recall that “foam degradation may be exacerbated by high heat and high humidity environments, and by use of unapproved cleaning methods, such as ozone.” So, for example, if a person lives in a state that has high levels of humidity (e.g., Florida) or heat (e.g., Arizona), their sleep apnea device may have started the PE-PUR foam degradation process and should be inspected.

What is the single biggest challenge victims face in their CPAP lawsuits?

Plaintiffs who file product liability lawsuits against Philips will need to establish a direct correlation between Philips’ recalled products and their injuries. Your legal team may conduct an analysis and help you build a case argument that centers on Philips’ negligence as a medical device manufacturer, but how a plaintiff might argue negligence depends on the approach they take with their case.

You must establish how Philips holds liability for your injuries

Some plaintiffs might use a strict liability structure to shape their case argument, meaning their case focuses on the fact that the plaintiff bought a defective product and the manufacturer is liable for products it sells in the public market.

This argument involves establishing these key points:

  • You purchased the Philips CPAP/BiPAP/ventilator machine: Whether you purchased the item through your health insurance or out of pocket, you must establish that a transaction occurred. You can also provide your medical records to establish why you bought the item (e.g., to treat your sleep apnea).
  • You did not know the product had defects before the Philips medical device recall: For this point, your lawyer may help retrieve medical information about the sleep apnea product you used that was available before the recall. They might also retrieve testimony from the medical care provider that prescribed the device to you to confirm what information was available at the time you began using the product.
  • The product contains a defect that puts your health at risk: Next, you must prove the product is defective, so your legal team can work to get a consumer expectations test done. Per the Legal Information Institute (LII), this test allows juries to determine whether a product failed to perform to its expectations and then judge the risk level it forces on consumers.
  • The product led to your injuries: Finally, you must establish the correlation between the product’s defects and your injuries. For example, your lawyer may argue that you inhaled PE-PUR foam particles through the tubing while sleeping for years, so you then developed respiratory problems after the particles scratched and irritated the lining of your nose, esophagus, and lungs.

While each case against Philips may be unique, plaintiffs can join a mass tort against the manufacturer to hold it liable for negligence. With mass torts, plaintiffs can leave litigation matters in the hands of their attorneys, which can be beneficial when taking on big corporations. By having multiple claims filed against one defendant, the collective can support each other in their arguments and establish more credibility.

If plaintiffs argue Philips knew of its product defects before the recall

Another legal strategy against Philips involves arguing whether the company knew about the product defects long before the recall in June. Some law firms assert this is possible due to the manufacturer’s recent DreamStation product launch in April 2021, which is said to be a safer alternative and does not experience the same issues with PE-PUR foam degradation.

The company would later issue a recall in June 2021, several weeks after launching a safer alternative. Your attorney may look into efforts the manufacturer might have made to cover up defect information about their products before the recall, which they might find through other complaints made against Philips.

Surviving families of victims who lost their lives to Philips products can sue

Because some Philips CPAP lawsuits involve victims who developed cancer after PE-PUR foam exposure, unfortunately, there may be cases where the victim cannot speak for themselves. If you lost a loved one to cancer or another fatal health condition caused by their CPAP/BiPAP/ventilator machine, you may qualify to file a wrongful death action, which would allow you to pursue compensation on their behalf. 

A wrongful death lawyer near you can represent your case and advise you throughout the legal process. 

Can any family member file a wrongful death action against Philips?

This answer varies by state. In most states, eligible family members are limited to the decedent’s (passed individual):

  • Surviving spouse
  • Surviving child
  • Surviving parent
  • Personal representative

However, other states may allow surviving grandparents, siblings, aunts or uncles to file a wrongful death action if no other surviving family member exists. Your attorney can explain the qualifications you must meet to file a wrongful death claim or lawsuit in your state, then take appropriate measures to submit your case to the court system.

What kind of damages can you pursue in a wrongful death case?

When a family member files on behalf of their deceased loved one, they can pursue damages that relate to their death as well as the damages that the victim would have pursued themselves had they remained alive. For example, common wrongful death damages include:

  • Costs for funeral arrangements
  • Costs for burial or cremation services
  • Medical debts related to the treatment the decedent received up until their death (e.g., costs for chemotherapy, surgeries, and hospitalization)
  • Loss of financial support from the decedent if they contributed to the family net worth but were unable to because of their illness
  • Future loss of financial support now that the family must survive without their loved one
  • Loss of consortium and other significant changes to relationship dynamics
  • Loss of parental guidance, love, and affection
  • Loss of inheritance
  • Pain and suffering experienced by both the decedent and the surviving family

Depending on your state’s statute of limitations for wrongful death actions, your time restraints may conflict with your mourning period. Many lawyers understand the difficulties in trying to balance grief with legal matters, which is why many firms take on the legal responsibility to manage their clients’ cases right away so that they do not have to worry about missing their legal deadlines.

Throughout the case-building process, your lawyer may suggest other damages unique to your family’s circumstances, and they will update you as your case progresses through litigation.

Fill out our contact form to get help with your Philips CPAP lawsuit

If using one of Philips’ BiPAP or CPAP machines caused you to suffer negative side effects and develop an illness or serious health condition, you may be entitled to file an individual personal injury lawsuit or join a mass tort action.

Fill out our contact form to get connected with a personal injury lawyer and start your legal journey today. A lawyer serving your area can help you build a case against Philips and pursue compensation from the company.