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Sleep apnea device blamed for user deaths

On Behalf of | Feb 14, 2024 | Personal Injury

Medical devices can improve quality of life, address illnesses, injuries and conditions and give them freedom they would not otherwise have. However, if they do not work properly, they can make a person’s condition worse or even result in severe health issues and death.

The manufacturers, the medical professionals and anyone else who was involved in the product can be held accountable if something goes wrong. If a person has been hurt or a family lost a loved one, they need to be up to date on recalls and complaints that might have surrounded a device.

A medical issue that requires the use of a device is obstructive sleep apnea. A machine used to treat it has sparked a recall, settlement with the U.S. government and documented deaths. Anyone who thinks they were negatively impacted by this or another device should be aware of their options.

Flaws in CPAP machine led to 561 deaths

Philips CPAP machines used to treat people with obstructive sleep apnea have been recalled after the Food and Drug Administration reported that it was linked to 561 people dying. There were a significant number of reports about problems with its foam entering people’s airways. The reports began in the spring of 2021. Another device known as BiPAP (bi-level positive airway pressure), used for sleep therapy, was also reported as having similar concerns.

Ingesting the foam or inhaling the chemicals can cause injuries and death. The company agreed to remove the device from the U.S. market and stop servicing devices that are already being used. It will also settle with the Justice Department and the FDA for around $400 million. Despite the settlement with the U.S. government, the company is still being pursued by people who were harmed by it and are seeking compensation for what they lost.

Defective medical devices can cause enormous damage

There are many ways in which people can suffer unexpected injuries, conditions and death. An auto accident is an unfortunate occurrence that happens every day. People are hurt on the job, slip and fall, and are misdiagnosed by medical professionals. Many are just due to negligence or being in the wrong place at the wrong time. They warrant compensation, but it is a different circumstance than with a medical device that was meant to treat rather than inflict greater damage.

The difference with a medical device is that steps are supposed to be taken to prevent medical devices from injuring people and worse. This is true whether it is a knee replacement, a hip replacement, vaginal mesh, heart device or other device. CPAP is so common that people might take it for granted that the machine is safe. In this instance, it was not.

With the FDA stating that these CPAP machines resulted in so many deaths, it is important for people who might have been injured, became ill or saw a loved one lose their lives to know what strategies are available. When there is a defective medical device, it is essential to act quickly to accrue evidence and take the necessary steps.