This page is about the
- CPAP sleep apnea lawsuits
- the MDL class action that has already begun, and
- expected settlement compensation payouts in these lawsuits.
What Is a CPAP?
CPAP is continuous positive airway pressure. the idea behind CPAP is that to prevent throat muscles from collapsing shut, the CPAP gives the patient a continuous airstream into the patient’s lungs.
The CPAP is not giving the patient oxygenation. It just gives pressure to keep the throat muscles open so that when that patient is asleep, muscles that might close off do not close off.
The mask fits relatively tightly with the headbands around the head. The way it works is the CPAP mask creates a seal. Air does not leave the seal when it is properly applied and properly working. This device is generally very effective at resolving most sleep apnea. Our lawyers are not disputing this. The concern is about the machine’s release of deadly toxins.
What the CPAP Lawsuits Are About
Millions of people suffer from sleep apnea and many of them use Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) devices at night to help treat this condition. Last month, a major manufacturer issued a nationwide safety recall of all is CPAP and sleep apnea machines.
The recall notice disclosed that users of the machines may have been inhaling small particles of polyurethane foam that can cause respiratory conditions, organ damage, and even cancer.
Our lawyers are now seeking new cases from users of the recalled sleep apnea devices who suffered adverse health consequences.
Backstory Behind the Philips CPAP Recall
Sleep apnea is a very common medical condition that affects millions of people in the U.S. With sleep apnea, a person’s breathing regularly gets shallow or interrupted at night when they sleep. This chronic interruption of regular oxygen flow during sleep can cause a host of medical problems ranging from headaches to stroke and heart attack.
CPAP therapy is the predominant method of treatment for sleep apnea. This treatment method involves the use of a CPAP machine at night which delivers air to the user through a mask over the nose and mouth. The air pressure from the CPAP machine helps to keep the user’s airway fully open throughout the night and prevent compression or collapsing associated with sleep apnea.
Philips is a medical device manufacturer that focuses primarily on sleep apnea machines and similar devices. Philips manufactured and sold CPAP machines and Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure (BiPAP) machines under a host of different brands. The company’s primary line of sleep apnea devices was sold under the DreamStation brand, which included the DreamStation and DreamStation Go.
Polyurethane Foam (PE-PUR)
CPAP machines are used during sleep, so they need to be as quiet as possible. To make their machines quieter Philips used a special type of polyurethane foam called PE-PUR for sound abatement.
In April 2021, Philips issued a safety warning identifying “possible risks” to users related to the PE-PUR sound abatement foam. Specifically, Philips stated that the PE-PUR foam degrades over time, causing machine users to unknowingly inhale tiny particles of the foam at night.
Just 3 weeks later in June 2021, Philips announced a nationwide recall of nearly all its first generation CPAP, BiPAP, and other sleep apnea devices. The recall notice contained the following statement:
To date, Philips has produced millions of Bi-Level PAP, CPAP, and mechanical ventilator devices using the PE-PUR sound abatement foam. . . Philips determined based on testing that there are possible risks to users related to this type of foam. The risks include that the PEPUR foam may degrade into particles that may enter the device’s air pathway and be ingested or inhaled by the user, and the foam may off-gas certain chemicals. The foam degradation may be exacerbated by the use of unapproved cleaning methods, such as ozone, and high heat and high humidity environments may also contribute to foam degradation.
Therefore, Philips has decided to issue a “voluntary recall notification* to inform patients and customers of potential impacts on patient health and clinical use related to this issue, as well as for instructions on actions to be taken.
- The June 14, 2021 recall notice.
Health Risks Associated with the Recalled CPAP Devices
Right now, we are in the very early stages of the sleep apnea machine recall process. As a result, all we really know about the possible health risk associated with the defective CPAP devices is what Philips has admitted in its recall notices and safety bulletins. Based on the disclosures from Philips, however, it seems obvious that users who inhaled foam particles from one of the recalled devices may face some very serious health consequences.
In its initial safety recall notice, Philips offered the following statement regarding the potential health consequences and risks linked to inhalation of PE-PUR foam particulars in the recalled CPAP devices:
Philips has received reports of possible patient impact due to foam degradation. The potential risks of particulate exposure include headache, irritation, inflammation, respiratory issues, and possible toxic and carcinogenic effects. The potential risks of chemical exposure due to off-gassing include headache, irritation, hypersensitivity, nausea/vomiting, and possible toxic and carcinogenic effects. Philips has received no reports regarding patient impact related to chemical emissions.
Along with this information in the product safety recall notice, Philips also published a separate disclosure entitled “Clinical information for physicians,” which sought to give healthcare practitioners information regarding the health risks associated with inhalation of the PE-PUR foam. This announcement explained in detail the chemical dangers posed by the inhalation of the foam.
Based on the disclosures and public notices from Philips, it looks like inhalation of the PE-PUR foam from the recall sleep apnea devices may be linked to the following health consequences:
- Severe airway irritation and inflammation (especially dangerous in patients with underlying pulmonary conditions)
- Pulmonary fibrosis
- Headaches and dizziness and sinus infection
- Damage to the kidney, liver, and other organs
- Cancer (lung, liver, kidney, and other types of cancer)
CPAP Recall Lawsuits
The Philips sleep apnea machine recall will invariably lead to product liability lawsuits against the company by users who were adversely affected by the inhalation of foam particles. Philips will undoubtedly have some major liability here.
Our lawyers are currently seeking new sleep apnea machine cases from people who used one of the recalled Philips devices and suffered adverse health consequences as a result. We are particularly interested in hearing from individuals who meet the following criteria:
- You used a recalled Philips sleep apnea machine on a nightly basis for a least 6 months.
- After 6 months of using the recalled sleep apnea device, you developed a medical condition involving your respiratory system (e.g., pulmonary fibrosis); suffered organ damage to your kidney or liver; or were diagnosed with cancer.
If you meet these criteria we would like to explore your legal options and determine whether or not you have a valid claim against Philips. There will be a CPAP MDL lawsuit in either Pennsylvania or Massachusetts very short. (Both sides agree to the need for a CPAP MDL; the argument is over where it should be. Philips wants the CPAP MDL on its home turf of Massachusetts.)
What Do Our Lawyers Expect for CPAP Sleep Apnea Average Settlement Compensation Payouts?
It is early in the CPAP sleep apnea lawsuits for our lawyers to predict average settlement compensation payouts. But we do know settlement amounts in other lawsuits where the allegation is the product caused cancer. In product liability cancer lawsuits, the trial value of successful cases is typically millions of dollars. Settlement amounts in a class action will, on average, be lower. Typically, victims in successful cases can expect settlements between $100,000 and $500,000 depending upon how strong the case is and the extent of the pain and suffering. Wrongful death cases will typically have higher average settlement values.
When Will Philips Settle the CPAP Lawsuits?
The CPAP lawsuits are just beginning. Our lawyers do not expect a formal class action until October 2021. When this is formalized and trial dates are set, we will have a better idea of if and when Philips will settle the CPAP lawsuits.
Could the CPAP sleep apnea lawsuit have a similar settlement value? It is pure speculation at this point. Our lawyers need to wait and see how this litigation unfolds and what the evidence shows.
CPAP Recall Lawyers
If you think you were injured by one of the recalled Philips sleep apnea machines, contact our lawyers today for a free consultation. Call 800-553-8082 or get a free online consultation. Our lawyers do not collect a fee unless you get a verdict on settlement payout.