Two years on, sleep apnea sufferers still hurt by CPAP machine recall

Orlando, Florida – Kerry Markham spent three years struggling to breathe, suffering from lung problems that began in March of 2020, surprising her doctors.

“They just kept saying, ‘We don’t know,'” Markham said. “‘Some kind of inflammatory condition. But we don’t know what it is.'”

The 48-year-old registered nurse and mother of three said she has been using the Philips DreamStation Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine to treat her sleep apnea since 2018.

Then, in June 2021, he discovered on Facebook that machines liked him. was voluntarily recalled. Due to the soundproofing foam used inside the machines that can be damaged.

According to Philips, the recall of millions of CPAP breathing machines was due to “potential hazards” including “toxic and carcinogenic effects” as well as the potential to cause “asthma” and “inflammatory reactions”. .

“I was shocked,” Markham told CBS News. “I was like, this explains everything I feel like I’m going through.”

She could not even believe that she had not received a recall notice from the company.

“I hadn’t seen it anywhere but Facebook,” Markham said. “And why am I looking this up on Facebook?”

Markham is one of many consumers who are now suing Philips, saying the company was notified of foam defects inside some of its CPAP machines and ventilators as far back as 2015, according to the FDA. , but didn’t begin its return until 2021.

Nearly two years later, some patients on social media complain that they have yet to receive a replacement machine from Philips.

“I think this recall shows us how bad things can get when we don’t get it right,” said Dr. Vinay Rathi, an otolaryngologist at Massachusetts Eye and Ear Hospital in Boston who studies medical device regulation.

“You basically buy a device, you find out that, actually, it can harm you,” Rathi said. “And then you struggle to find a replacement device… If I were the patient, I’d be desperate.”

As of January, it had produced “more than 90 percent of the replacement equipment needed,” Philips told CBS News in a statement.

The company said it has shipped the changes to about 2.5 million customers so far, about half of whom need them.

It also said its latest testing showed “foam degradation is low” and within “safe safety limits.” “Exposure to particulate matter emitted from weak foam is unlikely to cause appreciable harm to health in patients,” it said.

Phillips told CBS News he could not comment on pending litigation, including Markham’s lawsuit.

Markham now uses a CPAP machine from a different company. However, she said that due to her health problems, she is no longer able to work at the nursing job she loves.

“I don’t know if I’m going to be with my grandchildren,” said an emotional Markham.

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