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Philips CPAP Recall – Emerging Major Litigation over CPAP and BiPAP Machine

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Millions of Americans suffer from chronic medical conditions that affect their breathing, including obstructive sleep apnea, a chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, and others. Many people in South Carolina with these or other conditions rely on therapeutic interventions to help them breathe, including CPAP and BiPAP machines. These devices use pressure to force oxygen into people’s lungs. Unfortunately, however, many of these devices have been recalled by Philips Respironics, and more might be recalled because of the potential for developing CPAP cancer or BiPAP cancer from exposure to chemicals contained in the foam used in these devices. Some lawsuits against Philips Respironics have already been filed by people who have developed CPAP cancer or BiPAP cancer from using these devices.  If you think you’ve been affected by this Phillips CPAP recall, contact us today!

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What are CPAP and BiPAP machines?

cpap bipap recall lawsuit south carolinaCPAP and BiPAP machines are devices that people can use at home to alleviate symptoms of chronic diseases that affect the airways, including COPD and chronic obstructive sleep apnea. A tube connects to a mask the user wears over his or her nose and mouth, and the device uses pressure to force oxygen into the wearer’s lungs to facilitate breathing. While the devices can be used to alleviate symptoms for certain short-term diseases, millions of people use them on a long-term basis. Most of the CPAP and BiPAP machines used in the U.S. are manufactured by Philips Respironics.

Recall of Philips Respironics CPAP and BiPAP devices

According to an alert issued by the federal Food and Drug Administration or FDA on June 30, 2021, Philips Respironics has recalled many of its CPAP and BiPAP machines manufactured between 2009 and April 26, 2021. The CPAP recall was issued because these devices container polyester-based polyurethane to muffle the sound from the machines. Unfortunately, the foam can degrade, causing users to potentially inhale small particles that can lodge in the lungs. As the foam deteriorates, toxic chemicals can also be released and inhaled. Because CPAP and BiPAP users might inhale these gases, they will likely be exposed to much higher concentrations than what is safe.

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Since air continuously circulates through a CPAP or BiPAP machine before it enters a patient’s airways, contaminants contained in the air can be inhaled directly into the throat, nose, and lungs. While more investigation is needed, using CPAP or BiPAP machines manufactured by Philips Respironics might increase the risk of developing liver cancer, kidney cancer, and lung cancer.

Potential injuries from Philips’ CPAP or BiPAP devices

When people inhale particles of polyester-based polyurethane from degraded foam, their bodies are likely to try to encapsulate them, which might increase the risk of lung cancer. However, if their bodies cannot encapsulate the inhaled particles, they might continue to break down and be absorbed into the bloodstream, allowing the toxic chemicals to spread to other organs and structures.

The gases that can be released by the degraded foam include dimethyl diazine, carbolic acid, and diethylene glycol. When people are exposed to small doses of dimethyl diazine, they can suffer from a variety of different symptoms, including the following:

  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Eye, skin, and respiratory tract inflammation and irritation
  • Asthma
  • Inflammatory response
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Lung cancer
  • Kidney failure
  • Kidney cancer
  • Liver failure
  • Liver cancer

The liver and kidneys are the main pathways used by the body to eliminate dimethyl diazine.

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Carbolic acid or phenol is a caustic chemical that can cause chemical burns when it contacts the epithelial cells of the skin and the respiratory system. The lung’s epithelial cells play several important roles, including providing protection, balancing fluids, clearing particles, initiating immune responses, producing mucus, and helping the lungs to repair themselves after an injury.

Diethylene glycol is a volatile organic compound that caused the deaths of more than 100 people in two months in 1937 in what is known as the Massengill Incident. The S.E. Masengill Company manufactured a liquid preparation of sulfanilamide, a common antibiotic, and used diethylene glycol as a solvent. After the preparation was introduced, 115 people died. The chief pharmacist of the company who developed the oral preparation committed suicide while awaiting trial after being charged with the deaths of 105 people.

This incident led Congress to pass The Food Drug and Cosmetic Act of 1938, which was signed into law by Franklin Delano Roosevelt and created the FDA. The dangers of diethylene glycol have been known for almost 100 years, and the fact that CPAP and BiPAP machines can outgas this substance and expose people to it is appalling. if a CPAP lawsuit or BiPAP lawsuit goes to a jury trial, a jury is unlikely to look favorably upon Philips Respironics when it hears evidence that these devices outgas volatile organic compounds like diethylene glycol.

Which machines have been recalled?

The CPAP recall includes CPAP and BiPAP machines that were manufactured between 2009 and April 2021 with the following model names and numbers:

  • OmniLab Advanced +
  • C-Series S/T and AVAPS
  • C-Series ASV
  • SystemOne ASV4
  • DreamStation ST, AVAPS
  • DreamStation ASV
  • E30
  • REMstar SE Auto
  • Dorma 500
  • Dorma 400
  • DreamStation Go
  • DreamStation
  • SystemOne (Q-Series)
  • A-Series BiPAP A30
  • A-Series BiPAP A40
  • A-Series BiPAP V30 Auto
  • A-Series BiPAP Hybrid A30
  • Garbin Plus, Aeris, LifeVent
  • Trilogy 200
  • Trilogy 100

What should you do if you have one of the recalled CPAP or BIPAP devices?

If your device is one of the recalled BiPAP or CPAP machines, you should talk to your doctor to determine your options for ongoing treatment. Philips Respironics said that it will replace the foam in the devices with new material once it secures the mandatory regulatory approval. If you have experienced any of the symptoms related to exposure to foam and toxic gases, you should also talk to your doctor about them.

CPAP lawsuit or BiPAP lawsuit against Philips Respironics

Litigation against Philips Respironics is emerging and is still in an early stage. Hundreds of thousands of people across the U.S. might be impacted, making it likely that multi-district litigation could occur in federal court. An MDL allows separate lawsuits to be joined during the discovery phase to expedite the judicial process, but the individual plaintiffs’ cases are still separate.

Some of the potential causes of action that might be included in a product liability CPAP lawsuit or a BiPAP lawsuit against Philips Respironics include the following:

  • Design defects
  • Deceptive trade practices
  • Negligent misrepresentation
  • Failure to warn/inadequate warnings
  • Fraudulent concealment
  • Breach of warranty

Potential defense by Philips

One defense that Philips might raise during this CPAP and BiPAP recall is that the cleaning solution people use to clean the devices might have caused some of the problems associated with the foam. However, people who use cleaning solutions to clean their CPAP or BiPAP machines use them on the exterior surfaces and disposable parts of the devices instead of on their interiors where the foam is located. There is no indication that how people have cleaned the machines contributed to the problems.

Potential damages

In a lawsuit against Philips, the compensatory damages that you might receive will depend on the severity of your injuries and your losses. Some of the types of damages that you might be able to recover include the following:

  • Past and future medical bills
  • Past income losses and future anticipated income losses
  • Property damage
  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Emotional trauma
  • Other damages

Depending on the egregiousness of Philips Respironics’ actions, punitive damages might also be available. Punitive damages are awarded when a defendant has acted in a particularly outrageous manner to punish the defendant and deter future similar conduct.

Do you have grounds for a lawsuit?

If you have developed liver cancer, kidney cancer, or lung cancer after using a CPAP or BiPAP device on an ongoing basis, you should contact an experienced injury attorney at The Lovely Law Firm in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. You should preserve the device and any evidence and gather your medical records. We are currently accepting claims for evaluation and can analyze what happened to you to determine the potential legal merits of your case. Contact us today at (843) 281-7205 for a free consultation.

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