Millions of CPAP Users Scramble to Find Solutions After Philips Recalls Breathing Machine Due to Cancer Fears
According to an online news article published on nytimes.com, patients who suffer from sleep apnea and rely on CPAP machines are struggling to find alternatives following Philips’s recall of dozens of breathing machine models. The recall was initiated after it was discovered that the sound deadening material used on several of Philips’ breathing machines was degrading and releasing particles and gases known to cause cancer. Patients are now facing long delays concerning replacements sent from Philips as part of the recall. Some patients have been told that their replacement could take a year or longer.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration stated that the potential health risks are “life-threatening, cause permanent impairment and require medical intervention.” The polyester-based polyurethane foam that is the root cause helps to dampens vibration and sound. The user is at risk of swallowing or inhaling black particles and may be exposed to toxic chemicals when using the recalled breathing machines.
The FDA states that the health risks of breathing in particulate and chemicals from the recalled devices included skin irritation, asthma, respiratory tract inflammation, and “toxic and carcinogenic effects” to organs such as the liver and kidneys.
Philips is required to submit a repair-and-replacement program for the affected units to the FDA. Currently, there are severe shortages and thousands of backlogged orders, which is creating replacement delays for intensive-care units and emergency rooms that desperately need ventilators during the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is estimated that as many as two million devices have been recalled in the United States. About 24 million Americans suffer from obstructive sleep apnea. Philips is urging its customers with recalled devices to register their breathing machines and then discuss the issue with their doctors. A recall slip from Philips was shared with a news reporter who stated that Philips is prioritizing patients with “more advanced clinical needs.”
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