Does a breathing machine fall under product liability laws?

On Behalf of | Sep 9, 2021 | Medical Malpractice

When someone suffers from severe respiratory problems, they may rush to a Texas emergency room, and the condition might require the patient to rely on a breathing machine. A patient might become horrified to discover that the breathing machine itself could put someone’s health in jeopardy. Such things may happen because breathing machines, like so many other products, might suffer from defects.

A product recall that affects respiratory-troubled patients

Philips produces breathing machines designed to help patients deal with various problems, including breathing issues and sleep disorders. A New York Times report reveals that Phillips has recalled Respironics BiPAP, CPAP and ventilator machines manufactured before April 26, 2021.

The FDA pointed out that the recall order occurred after discovering potential cancer risks associated with the devices. The breakdown of polyurethane foam in the machines could result in the patient inhaling potentially cancer-causing chemicals.

The recall involves a tremendous number of machines. In the United States alone, 2 million devices face recalls. Many former patients now worry about their health after using the machines. Whether they eventually suffer long-term serious medical problems remains to be seen.

The potential legal fallout

The Phillips corporation could face lawsuits for any harm caused by their breathing apparatuses. Manufacturers that sell or distribute defective and dangerous products may face legal judgments requiring them to pay damages. Medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages could be part of a litigant’s claims.

Companies that produce defective products might carry enough business liability insurance to cover losses. That assumes the policy does not exclude the peril that led to the injuries. Regardless, suing the company for damages remains an option. Large corporations that produce defective products may face a class-action lawsuit. Individuals who have been injured by a company’s products could review the legal options available to them.