A class action lawsuit has been filed in Massachusetts against Dutch medical equipment company Philips to protect consumers harmed by Philips recalled sleep apnea machines, including CPAP and BiPAP machines, and ventilators, which may increase users’ risk of cancer and cause other injuries.
Last month, Philips announced a recall of many of its CPAP and BiPAP machines, which are used to treat sleep apnea, and ventilators, which treat respiratory failure. The recalled products contain polyester-based polyurethane (PE-PUR) foam for sound abatement. It has now been revealed that the PE-PUR foam may break down and be inhaled or ingested and may emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) resulting in adverse effects to organs, and cancer.
In an announcement to doctors, Philips explained that these hazards could result in “serious injury which can be life-threatening or cause permanent impairment.” Specifically, Philips stated that it “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.”
The complaint alleges that Philips knew about these substantial and material risks from its CPAP machines long before the recall. The complaint also alleges that patients who used the affected devices have complained to Philips about black particles in their machines for many years, but Philips did not warn the public about the hazards until late April and did not recall its machines until June 14.
“This important class action lawsuit seeks to recover all damages suffered by consumers who purchased the recalled CPAP devices, and have Philips replace them free of charge with safe and effective devices,” Shanon Carson, plaintiffs’ attorney and managing shareholder of Berger Montague, said in a statement. “Our clients and the many patients who have contacted us should not have to deal with finding out that they have been breathing volatile organic compounds harmful to their health. It is outrageous and we look forward to fighting on their behalf to obtain a resolution with Philips that provides damages for their economic and personal injuries.”