There are an estimated 25 million individuals who suffer from sleep apnea here in the U.S. Many of them rely on a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine to aid them with breathing when their sleep apnea causes them to stop respiration in the middle of the night.
Many CPAP users learned that they might have unsuspectingly been exposing themselves to cancer in recent days. Earlier this month, Philips, the manufacturer of the Dream Station, one of the more popular CPAP machines, announced a massive recall of its product.
What about the CPAP machine led to a recall?
Philips recently discovered that the foam padding on its CPAP machines degrades over time. Their research into the matter showed that that degradation leads to the dispersion of a dangerous chemical referred to as an off-gas. The resulting particles, some of which are carcinogens, end up being distributed into the environment where they can easily be swallowed or inhaled.
Why is the CPAP unit recall so concerning?
Now that the CPAP machine has been recalled, many sleep apnea patients have a hard choice to make. They can ignore the cancer dangers and continuing to use the CPAP machine (as their use of it is key to their survival) or they can comply with the recall, return the product to the manufacturer and wait for repairs to be made.
The concern with this latter option is that patients may not have an alternative unit to use, and they could die without using a CPAP. Manufacturers estimate that the repairs might take as long as a year to complete.
What can you do if a recall resulted in an adverse outcome?
Manufacturers have a responsibility to exercise caution when designing, manufacturing and marketing products. They should ensure that they’ll help instead of further harming patients. There’s often a rush to market that doesn’t allow for such due diligence. This is the reason why so many recalls end up occurring.
There’s no excuse for negligence involving health care products. If you’ve been injured by a faulty medical device or a loved one was killed, find out more about your legal options.