Tens of millions of sleep apnea sufferers across the country are being faced with sleepless nights and frustrating days as they try to chart a course of action since learning that their CPAP machines have been recalled. Millions of Philips DreamStation machines were recently recalled by the manufacturer after it was discovered that the foam used in the devices was breaking down. This breakdown was causing the off gassing of a variety of chemical compounds as well as actual particulate matter that was entering the breathing circuit and being inhaled by patients across the country.
Warnings from the FDA indicated possible serious or life-threatening injury including “carcinogenic effects” which means that the chemicals could cause cancer. And now, millions of people are reaching out to their health care and insurance providers for direction on what to do next – and, in many cases, they are coming up dry.
One such patient has tried contacting her private insurance provider and Medicare to obtain a replacement unit and even though the continued use of the machine could possibly put her at an increased risk of developing cancer, neither organization is willing to move to help her. “They’re saying, because it hasn’t been five years, even though it’s not her fault at all, they’re not willing to pay for a new machine,” said her son in an interview with CBS News.
Philips has publicly stated that patients can expect their solution to take about a year, leaving them with a no-win choice: continue using a machine that could be actively putting their life at risk or deal with the living hell of insomnia. And some are choosing to continue using the machine. “I cannot afford to not use it, because I would get so little sleep in,” said one patient. “And if I slept without it, I would stop breathing so many times during the course of the night.”
A class-action lawsuit has been filed against Philips in hopes that it will prompt the corporation to act faster. “To tell me that it could take up to a year? That’s a year that I could be putting myself in jeopardy,” said a patient who joined the lawsuit. “People just cannot afford to wait 12 months for a resolution.”