Philips, a multinational medical equipment company, recently recalled several bi-level positive airway pressure (bi-level PAP), continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP), and mechanical ventilator devices due to potential health risks related to the sound abatement of the foam used in these devices. Tests revealed that the foam was susceptible to degrading into particles and entering the device’s air pathway, allowing it to be ingested and/or inhaled by the user. Notably, gases released by the degrading foam may also be toxic and carry cancer risks. Philips is one of the largest manufacturers of sleep apnea machines and ventilators and beliefs between 3 million and 4 million devices are affected, of which approximately two-thirds are in the United States. Users of these machines have been advised to halt usage immediately.
Several lawsuits have already been filed against Philips, alleging that prolonged use of Philips CPAP devices can lead to the development of numerous health issues, including specifically lung cancer. Philips allegedly knew of these risks, issuing a memo wherein it identified the presence of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which may be emitted from the foam in these devices and cause short-term and long-term adverse health effects, but did nothing. The FDA noted several other risks in its recall notice, including irritation to the skin, eye, and respiratory tract, inflammatory response, headache, asthma, and toxic or carcinogenic effects to organs, such as the kidneys and liver. On April 26, 2021, Philips publicly acknowledged receiving numerous complaints of black debris in the device’s air pathway as well as reports of headaches and other respiratory issues in users of the devices. However, Philips did not issue a recall until seven (7) weeks later, allowing countless individuals to continue using their machines at the risk of their own health. Yet another example of a company putting profits over people.
If you or someone you know has been injured as the result of a defective product, contact an attorney at Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner by calling 713-396-3964 or toll-free at 1 800-594-4884.