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How a Lawyer Can Help with CPAP Injuries

For the 25 million Americans who experience sleep apnea, using a CPAP machine at night can help treat this sleep disorder. Sleep apnea can cause people to have irregular and inconsistent breathing while sleeping, while some start and stop breathing throughout the night. The constant airflow provided by a CPAP device can help ensure breathing is consistent.

In June 2021, Philips Respironics issued a product recall for specific CPAP, BiPAP, and ventilator medical devices. The foam inside the recalled devices can break down over time leading users to inhale fumes and tiny particulate matter. The particles and fumes have been connected with health risks such as headaches, coughing, asthma, cancer, pneumonia, and respiratory failure. The FDA has also issued a new warning that these devices can overheat, which could result in fire.

selective focus on gavel on an attorney's desk with blurred lawyer and client shaking hands

In January 2024, Philips remained firm in their position that inhaling off-gassed material and foam particles may not be dangerous, pointing to company-commissioned studies that suggest that inhaling internal foam from its devices is, “unlikely to result in appreciable harm,” in a statement shared with the Associated Press.

Injured By CPAP Device? What To Do Next

If you are experiencing new symptoms related to a Philips recalled device you should also seek medical attention. Symptoms of a CPAP injury may include kidney challenges, respiratory concerns, dizziness, severe headaches, acute asthma, and unexplained cancer diagnosis. In addition to medical advice, consulting with a CPAP attorney is another avenue to explore as you may be able to seek compensation for your injuries. 

When deciding on a CPAP attorney, there are many factors to consider. Here are some questions to ask while searching for an attorney.

Are free consultations offered? Many attorneys offer a free consultation before you become a client. The consultation allows you and the attorney to discuss your case and determine whether there is enough evidence to move forward with a CPAP claim. A free consultation also allows you to meet with the lawyer to see if you feel there can be a trusting relationship before deciding to work together.

How are the attorney fees structured? You should ask this question to determine whether the lawyer expects you to pay their fees upfront or as part of the settlement. Many product liability lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. This fee structure means that your attorney won’t receive payment unless they win money for you. If you are asked for money for a consultation or to be represented by an attorney, this might be a sign that this attorney is not a good fit for your CPAP case.

What is your experience with CPAP lawsuits? This question can help you gauge whether an attorney has experience with product liability or personal injury cases. Attorneys typically specialize in different practice areas. Consider asking if the attorney in question has experience in CPAP cases. If so, how successful has the attorney been? 

What do previous clients say about the attorney? Before selecting an attorney, do some research to determine whether previous clients have been satisfied with the lawyer’s overall demeanor and work ethic. While many lawyers have client testimonials on their websites, using the internet to seek out reviews can provide additional information and insight. Consider reading Google Reviews to see what previous clients say about an attorney.

What will the contract look like? After choosing an attorney to represent you and your CPAP claim, ask the attorney what the contract will look like. Reviewing the contract can ensure that you and your attorney agree to the same terms. Review the contract carefully. 

When it comes to your health, you shouldn’t be at risk when using a CPAP or other medical device. Filing a CPAP lawsuit against Philips with the support of an experienced lawyer can help you recover from your injuries, seek compensation, and hold the manufacturer accountable and responsible for their actions.

What Led to CPAP Lawsuits and DOJ Settlement? 

The FDA conducted an inspection of the Philips office in Pennsylvania in the fall of 2021. The inspection discovered a variety of concerns – including emails that suggested Philips was warned of the issue with the interior foam six years before the 2021 recall. The FDA found 14 instances between 2016 and early 2021 where Philips was aware of the foam degrading issue. FDA inspectors repeatedly noted that “no further design change, corrective action or field correction was conducted,” according to the Associated Press.

A year later in 2022, the FDA ordered Philips to increase their outreach to customers about the recall. The FDA estimated that only half the patients with a recalled Philips device were aware that these devices had been recalled. Patients trying to secure new or refurbished devices and those trying to collect a refund from Philips have reported lengthy delays. 

Philips CPAP lawsuits were consolidated into multidistrict litigation (MDL) in a federal court in Pennsylvania in the summer of 2023. Similar lawsuits are working their way through the legal systems in Canada, Chile, Australia, and Israel.

Philips also announced that they will stop selling the devices in the U.S. This announcement came after a CPAP settlement agreement with U.S. regulators. Under the agreement, Philips must hire independent auditors to create a plan to fix the manufacturing problems and be approved by the FDA. Additionally, the new foam chosen by Philips must meet FDA safety standards. As part of the agreement, Philips would still be able to export some devices for sale outside of the U.S.