The massive recall of Philips Respironics’ ventilators and DreamStation CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machines disrupted medical care for millions in the United States and around the world. An investigation by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and ProPublica found that the company continued to sell the devices long after it discovered that foam inside them could break down in heat and humidity, emitting particles and fumes into the masks worn by patients.
The federal government has classified the recall as the most serious: one for device defects that can cause serious injury or death. The company has said testing so far on its machines shows they are unlikely to cause “appreciable harm.” But experts and even some of the company’s own employees and others say test results are concerning, records and interviews show. The company has pledged to repair or replace recalled machines, investigate reports of deaths and communicate with the public about the health risks.
As we continue reporting on the recall and the damage caused by these machines, we need your help. We’re particularly interested in accounts from Philips’ customers, their family members or others who reported deaths or serious illnesses — either to the company or through the government’s MedWatch reporting form — and whether the company followed up.
We’re also interested in hearing more about your experience with the recall process.
If you worked for Philips before or after the recall, or worked at the independent labs that provided test results to the company, we’d like to hear from you too.
Your answers could help others who are still trying to navigate the recall or who have concerns about health impacts.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Michael Wereschagin, assistant managing editor of investigations and data; Jordan Anderson, reporter
Northwestern University’s Medill Investigative Lab: Molly Burke, Margaret Fleming, Susanti Sarkar, Nicole Tan, Claire Gardner, Bridgette Adu-Wadier and Grant Schwab