You have seen a lot of commercials and have probably been searching the internet for some straightforward explanations about Philips Respironics CPAP, BiPAP, and ventilator lawsuits. Here is a simple guide to CPAP lawsuits and settlements in three easy steps:
Step 1: Determine Whether Your Make and Model was Recalled.
Step 2: Look for a Related Injury.
Step 3: Contact a CPAP Attorney.
STEP 1: Determine Whether Your Make and Model was Recalled.
As you know by now, Philips was forced to recall potentially millions of units of its CPAP, BiPAP, and ventilator devices (note that we are not just talking about their popular CPAP units). You have also seen that the reason for the recall was that Philips was using polyester-based polyurethane (PE-PUR) foam as noise reduction insulation in its products. Unfortunately, it turns out that the foam is made of potentially cancer-causing compounds. Tests show that the foam can break down, or otherwise emit carcinogenic toxins, that are then inhaled or swallowed by people using the devices. This lead to the FDA announcing a recall of certain Philips devices.
So far, that recall includes:
CPAP and BiPAP Devices
Take a look at your device and compare it against the above FDA list of recalled Philips CPAP, BiPAP, and ventilator models. The make and model of your device will be printed prominently on the device, as well as its packaging. This same information should be readily available from your health insurance carrier and medical providers. Once you have determined that your make and model was recalled, proceed to Step 2.
STEP 2: Look for a Related Injury.
You have determined that your make and model was recalled, and now you must look for a related injury. This is no easy task. The claims here are very new and will doubtless change as experts review the effects of this type of toxic exposure. As you would expect, experts should be able to link severe lung or respiratory injuries (like pulmonary fibrosis) to inhalation of the PE-PUR particles. As PE-PUR contains carcinogenic compounds, experts should also be able to link lung, and other cancers.
Again, the science and the claims are in their early stages and it is not yet completely clear which types of cancer can be definitively linked to the use of the recalled devices. Right now, many different types of cancer are being reviewed by experts. However, as you would expect, you cannot expect to relate the first use of a recalled CPAP device to being diagnosed with a form of cancer the very next day. There is a latency period from when you first started using the recalled device, to when you first developed an injury. Once again, the science and claims are unsettled and different cancers have different latency periods. Right now, we believe the science is telling us that you will likely have to show at least one year of latency (a year passed between the time you first began using the recalled device and the time you developed an injury). After that, most forms of cancer will be reviewed by experts to determine a causal link.
STEP 3: Contact a CPAP Attorney.
You have determined that you were using a recalled Philips CPAP, BiPAP or ventilator for at least a year before you were diagnosed with a severe lung injury or cancer. Now what? Now, you will want to get some legal advice. Two things to keep in mind:
make sure to talk to a law firm that has extensive experience in this type of litigation; and
do not wait – there are different deadlines and statutes of limitations and repose that apply to your claim.
Do your homework and research the firm you will be working with – there is a really good chance it will not be the same lawyer that handled your last speeding ticket, or the people answering the phone at the other end of one of the 800 numbers that flash across your television screen late at night.
Helpful hint: put this on the top of your pile of things to do. Only bad things can happen if you wait too long to pursue a potential claim.