If you are one of the estimated 18 million Americans who suffer from sleep apnea, you may use a CPAP machine every night. If you used Phillips’ “DreamStation” CPAP machines, you may already be aware that Phillips recently issued a recall notification for many of those CPAP devices. Due to a defect, the recalled devices can lead to serious health problems. As one of the individuals who used the recalled products, you may have a claim for damages against Phillips.
Because this recall is very recent, many affected individuals aren’t quite sure what they should do. One of the most important questions you may have is whether you have a claim for damages. If you or a loved one is one of the potentially affected individuals, Gerling Law can help you get the compensation you deserve. Read on for more information on the recall and whether you should file a lawsuit regarding your use of the Phillips CPAP machines in question.
How Do CPAP Machines Treat Sleep Apnea?
CPAP machines are one of the primary treatments for sleep apnea. Sleep apnea occurs when you don’t get enough oxygen while you are sleeping. Untreated sleep apnea can lead to insomnia in many individuals, but there are other harmful effects. Most notably, untreated sleep apnea can lead to long-term circulatory problems and heart disease. This is a major concern in the US where heart disease is one of the most common causes of death. CPAP machines are a sort of ventilator. They treat sleep apnea by supplying a constant stream of oxygenated air through a mask and tube directly into your airways. In doing so, the machine ensures that you get the right amount of oxygen as you sleep. In turn, the machines reduce the risk of developing heart disease and insomnia.
The Phillips CPAP Machine Recall
Phillips issued their recall notification on June 14, 2021. The order covered nearly four million devices. In the recall order, Phillips instructed affected individuals to stop all use of their BiLevel PAP and CPAP sleep apnea devices. The reason for the recall was the discovery that many of the machines contained a harmful chemical that one can inhale. People who inhale the substance in question risk developing lung damage from the CPAP machine.
The chemical in question is contained in the polyester insulation of the affected CPAP machines. The insulation is meant to dampen sound so that the noise of the machine does not wake up the user of the machine or their loved ones. The problem arose because the insulation degraded faster than initially thought. As the foam insulation degrades, particulates of it can make their way into a user’s nose, lungs, and throat. The risk of degradation is hastened by the use of certain cleaning products, heat, and humidity.
To make things worse, it is almost impossible to avoid humidity and cleaning products when you use a CPAP machine. As a user of a CPAP machine, you know the importance of keeping the device clean. You don’t want harmful bacteria to grow on your device. After all, that bacteria can go straight into your airways. Furthermore, how can you avoid humidity while using your CPAP machine? Our breath is humid, so it is inevitable that a mask we wear while we sleep eight hours a night is subject to the humidity of our breath.
The Subsequent Lawsuit
After Phillips issued their recall, a truck driver working out of Oregon filed a class action lawsuit against them. In the Phillips lawsuit, the plaintiff alleges that he is unable to work due to the product’s recall. Since the recall, he has not been able to replace his device with one that is safe to use. As a result, he alleges, he cannot safely perform his job and thus cannot work. In fact, because he is diagnosed with sleep apnea and it is not currently under treatment, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) won’t even allow him to work. It is against their regulations. As a result, the damages in his case surround his loss of income and potential future health concerns as a result of his lack of treatment.
Who Qualifies for the Lawsuit?
Before going into the requirements for a product liability lawsuit, we need to address the first question: whether the specific CPAP machine you used is one of the affected products. If not, you may not have a claim. Luckily, it’s easy to look up. Phillips has set up a portal where you can look up and register your machine’s serial number to see whether your device is subject to the recall order.
If your device is one of those affected, go through the following requirements to make an educated guess as to whether you have a valid claim. Generally, for product liability, a claimant must show just two things:
- The existence of damages; and
- A causal relationship between the product in question and the ensuing damages.
Unlike in other types of personal injury claims, the question is not whether the manufacturer exercised due care in the design and manufacture of the product. Even a company that uses the highest standard of care can be held responsible if their product causes damage. This concept is known as “strict liability” because an accident victim does not have to prove negligence to receive compensation.
If you developed lung damage or another respiratory health problem after using a recalled Phillips CPAP machine, you may be able to recover compensation from Phillips.
Ready to File Your Phillips CPAP Lawsuit?
If you are one of the thousands of individuals affected by the Phillips CPAP recall, Gerling Law is here for you. If you aren’t sure whether you have a valid claim after reading through this piece, give us a call for a free consultation, so we can help you figure out what to do. You might want to join the class action lawsuit, but we can also represent you in an individual claim against Phillips.
At Gerling Law, we bring more than 50 years of experience in compassionate advocacy to the table. To date, we have recovered more than $500 million for our clients. We pride ourselves on our commitment to our clients. That’s why we are always available to you. Whether a question or concern arises at 5:00 AM, 7:00 PM, or midnight, we always have someone available to help you out.
Our consultations don’t cost anything, so talking to us is a risk-free proposition. Check out our case results and testimonials pages to see how we help our clients, then call us today and tell us your story. We’ll be by your side from start to finish. Go with Experience. Go with Gerling! ®