Millions of Americans with sleep apnea rely on CPAP breathing machines to help them get a good night’s sleep. In fact, it’s been estimated that at least 25 million Americans suffer from this condition, which causes people to stop breathing intermittently while they’re sleeping. The condition can be very serious.
Therefore, it’s not surprising that there’s been a lot of anxiety and frustration since Philips recalled its DreamStation machine in June. These and other CPAP machines are designed to send a steady supply of air into the user’s mouth and nose to keep their airways open.
Possibility of inhaling carcinogenic material
According to Phillips, the foam that’s used in the popular model to dampen the noise of the machine “may degrade into particles” that could cause users to inhale cancer-causing toxins. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also said that the millions of recalled machines could have “toxic or carcinogenic effects.”
It’s not certain how many people have been negatively affected by the machine. According to Philips, it received complaints on just .03% of its DreamStations last year. Some people reported “the presence of black debris/particles.”
Users –- many of whom say that the machine changed their lives — have been less than happy about Philips’ response. The company has promised to repair or replace the machines within a year of an FDA-approved fix. As one user said, “That’s a year that I could be putting myself in jeopardy. People just cannot afford to wait 12 months for a resolution.”
Many users are facing tough choices
Philips has a newer model, the DreamStation2, which has not been recalled. However, not everyone can afford a new machine, and insurance providers, including Medicare, won’t necessarily pay for a new one if someone hasn’t had theirs for long. So people who feel it’s more dangerous to go without it than to keep using the one they have end up caught between two bad choices. Philips is facing a lawsuit as well as scrutiny from at least one U.S. senator over its response.
If you’ve suffered harm from a medical device or any other product intended to improve your health and well-being, it’s always wise to seek legal guidance to find out what options you have to receive compensation for your expenses and damages.