Four Dutch users take Philips to court over sleep apnea device


Four people who used a defective Philips sleep and respiratory care device are taking the company to court to force it to admit liability for their health problems.

The claimants, who are suffering from headaches, respiratory problems and cancer, say the the damage to their health may be related to the use of the Dreamstation 1, a device which prevents sleep apnea, a health problem which causes a person to temporarily stop breathing while sleeping.

In June Philips issued a recall notice for between three million and four million sleep and respiratory care devices because of possible health risks attached to foam used in the equipment to dampen noise.

The  company said that it had carried out tests and determined that there ‘are possible risks’ centred on the foam which ‘may degrade into particles which may enter the device’s air pathway and be ingested or inhaled by the user’.

Lawyer for the four, Mark de Hek, said Philips should admit liability so the consequences of the use of the device can be ascertained. That investigation must carried out and paid for by Philips, he told broadcaster NOS.

‘Philips caused the problem and should take responsibility for it,’ he said.


Some 50,000 of the devices were sold in the Netherlands. Philips said people who experienced problems should stop using the device and contact their doctor but for some people that was not an option, De Hek said.

‘Some people are still using it,’ he said. ‘They don’t know if it’s safe but if they stop they suffer from tiredness all day, have headaches and may fall asleep at work or behind the wheel. They are between a rock and a hard place,’ he said.

Should the investigation show that the device is to blame for the health problems, then Philips must pay compensation, De Hek said.

In a reaction a Philips spokesman said the company would not comment on the case but said it ‘takes its safety warnings very seriously’.

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