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Another Philips CPAP Cancer Lawsuit

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Yet another CPAP cancer lawsuit alleges Philips sold its sleep apnea machines knowing the recalled devices were defective.

New York, NYAnother CPAP lawsuit has been filed against Philips, this time by a New York man suffering from mouth and tongue cancer and other injuries. This latest lawsuit joins hundreds of other former users of Philips CPAP devices diagnosed with cancer as part of an MDL in the Western District of Pennsylvania.

Lawrence Braverman’s Philips CPAP lawsuit joins thousands of complaints filed by former users claiming they have been diagnosed with various types of cancer, lung damage and other serious health issues. In addition, the FDA has received over 90,000 adverse event reports linked to the breakdown or suspected breakdown of the polyester-based polyurethane (PE-PUR) foam used in the Philips Respironics ventilators, BiPAP machines, and CPAP machines,, including at least 260 deaths. And in a December 2022 update, the agency announced that “Philips observed residual PE‐PUR sound abatement foam in some reworked Trilogy 100 and Trilogy 200 ventilators that were returned to customers."

Philips announced in its June 2021 recall that the CPAP machines could result in potential risks including “toxic and carcinogenic effects” and that these hazards could result in “serious injury which can be life-threatening or cause permanent impairment.” In Braverman’s case, the risks certainly outweighed any sleep apnea machine benefits.

Braverman v. Philips

Braverman filed his complaint in late December 2022 against Koninklijke Philips and its U.S. subsidiaries. Braverman claims that the defective CPAP devices – he was also prescribed a recalled device—led to multiple severe diagnoses and seven years of biopsies and surgeries, and radiation and chemotherapy for oral cancer.

In 2011 Braverman was diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea and his doctor prescribed a Philips REMStar SE Auto CPAP device. In 2018, he was prescribed a Dream Station Auto CPAP device: He and his doctor were unaware that both machines contained a defective sound abatement material.

According to court documents, Braverman “was not able to discover, nor could he have discovered through the exercise of reasonable diligence, the defective nature of the Subject Devices. Further, in no way could Plaintiff have known that Philips had designed, developed, and manufactured the Subject Devices in a way as to make the risk of harm or injury outweigh the benefits.”

In his lawsuit, Braverman details how his life was “permanently altered by continuous bouts of mouth cancer” beginning in 2015 at a dental appointment.
  • May 2015: Braverman had a portion of his tongue tissue biopsied and was diagnosed with tongue cancer.
  • June 2015: Surgical removal of the tongue and for the next two months he endured “painful swallowing, pain in his mouth, and a restricted diet with only liquids and then soft foods.”
  • August 2016: another biopsy of his tongue resulting in a carcinoma in situ diagnosis and noted as potentially a recurrence of the 2015 tongue cancer.
  • May 2017: He suffered an excision of a tumor of the left floor mouth.
  • October 2018: He had another left floor of mouth tumor excised. The final diagnosis was squamous mucosa with moderate to high grade dysplasia.
  • June 2021: He had surgery to have a gastric tube (“G-tube”) inserted through the abdominal wall for feedings while he underwent radiation treatments for right anterior floor of mouth squamous cell carcinoma
  • September 2021: After enduring approximately three months with the G-tube while undergoing radiation, it was finally surgically removed
  • June 2022: Another devastating diagnosis: the recurrence of papillary squamous cell carcinoma in left floor of mouth
  • Summer 2022: Radiation plus chemotherapy

Botched Recall

On the day of the recall (June 14, 2021), Braverman’s pulmonary doctor urgently requested new CPAP equipment. Due to his patient’s severe sleep apnea, he sent another request mid-August for a replacement, but that seems to have fallen on deaf ears. Braverman then spoke on the phone with a customer service associate at Philips to register to receive a new machine but was told that he may not receive the new machine for some time. The associate also mentioned that the SoClean ozone cleaner that Braverman used was problematic due to insufficient cleaning. However, Philips neglected to say that SoClean caused rapid deterioration of the CPAP machine, and it should not be used. (Philips filed a lawsuit against SoClean in an attempt to blame it for the defective devices.)

By February 2022, eight months after the recall, Braverman received a new Philips Respironics Dream Station, but he had been using the recalled device because there was no other option available.

Failure to Warn

Philips recall came six years after Braverman was diagnosed with cancer. Many lawsuits allege that Philips had previous knowledge about the defective nature of their sleep apnea devices but failed to warn its customers. Evidence that supports the accusation that the company had been aware of the problem of their sleep apnea machines and ventilators for a long time before issuing the recall includes:
  • “Patients who use the Recalled Breathing Machines have complained about black particles in their machines for several years," according to numerous lawsuits.
  • Philips informed corporate investors of problems CPAP devices and the DreamStation several weeks before the recall was issued.
  • Philips developed and launched the DreamStation 2 in April 2021, just before the recall. Clearly the company couldn’t manufacture new DreamStation machines overnight…
Braverman’s lawsuit says that he “seeks compensation for his economic, physical, mental, and emotional damages from suffering multiple severe diagnoses and treatments over the years, including radiation and chemotherapy for oral cancer. In addition, as a result of the injuries Braverman has sustained, his wife has suffered the loss of care, comfort, society, and affection from Braverman, for which Braverman seeks compensation.”

Braverman’s Case 2:22-cv-07927 was filed December 28, 2022 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.


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