CPAP Recall Impacting Truck Drivers
Due to the Philips company’s widespread recall of its CPAP machines, a diverse group of people has been negatively impacted. One group that has had to deal with this recall is truck drivers. The Department of Transportations’ regulations state that a person diagnosed with sleep apnea is required to present evidence that they are using a breathing machine in order to maintain their employment. Due to the Philips CPAP recall and the delay in the replacement of the company’s breathing machines, truck drivers are now in a difficult situation. Now, truck drivers with sleep apnea are forced to choose one of two undesirable options: risk the health hazards associated with using one of the breathing machines or risk losing their jobs until their breathing machine can be replaced.
The product liability lawyers at the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe LLP have heard various stories from truck drivers who have been forced into such a predicament. One truck driver reported that he was required to use a CPAP machine but following the recall could not afford to purchase another machine out of pocket. As a result, the truck driver must use the recalled Philips machine until he receives a replacement. The truck driver also stated that even though he has been registered for some time, he has yet to receive his replacement breathing machine. He does not know how long it will take.
Signs and Risk Factors for Sleep Apnea
Some of the most common signs and symptoms that a person has sleep apnea include sleepiness during the day, loud snoring on a routine basis, and pauses in a person’s breathing during sleep.
Several factors can lead to a person having small airways and a predisposition toward having sleep apnea. Some of these factors include body mass indexes greater than 28, small jaws, family history of sleep apnea, and larger than average neck sizes.
The Dangers of Sleep Apnea
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reports that approximately one of three commercial truck drivers have been diagnosed with mild to severe sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition in which a person’s breathing becomes blocked during sleep as the result of throat muscles that relax.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that 2.2% of all traffic deaths are connected to drowsy driving. People who drive while tired often fail to appreciate the extent to which their tiredness impacts their driving. Since sleep apnea disrupts a person’s ability to sleep soundly and deeply, it contributes to fatigue during that person’s waking hours.
Requirements for Holding Onto Your CDL
You can still drive a truck following a sleep apnea diagnosis. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with sleep apnea and your physician requested that you treat the condition, you are permitted to drive assuming you follow treatment suggestions.
If you have sleep apnea, the Department of Transportation will likely only issue you medical certification for one instead of two years. Provided you follow treatment suggestions, you should not encounter difficulties in holding onto your CDL. The Philips recall, however, has made this situation much more difficult for many truck drivers on the road today.
No Regulations Requiring Sleep Apnea Testing
The Department of Transportation has no rule requiring all drivers to be tested for sleep apnea. The Department of Transportation, however, requires a medical examination before drivers can obtain a CDL. During a medical examination, a medical professional will assess whether you should receive sleep apnea testing.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with sleep apnea, you must make sure to remain compliant with your recommended treatment. You should then make sure to print a confirmation of your CPAP compliance and take it to your CDL exam. Remember, if you have multiple machines, you will need to bring a report showing compliance for each machine.
What it Means to be CPAP Compliant
CPAP compliance measures how often you use your breathing machine or recommended therapy and whether you utilize the treatment enough for it to be effective. If you are deemed noncompliant, it means you do not use the recommended treatment enough. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has declared that therapy use consists of an average of four hours each night for a minimum of 70% of nights.
Beginning CPAP Therapy
If you think that you have sleep apnea, you should first speak with your medical provider. Some of the other helpful steps that you can take to make sure you receive the best possible care include:
- What to do first. The best first step to take in pursuing appropriate CPAP therapy is to receive a medical professional’s diagnosis. Adequate diagnosis requires undergoing a sleep study or a polysomnography, which is the most common way in which sleep disorders are diagnosed.
- Titration studies. If a sleep study suggests that you have sleep apnea, you will then undergo a titration study so medical providers can decide on the accurate level of pressure you need to maintain your airway while sleeping. During a titration study, a medical professional will monitor what air pressure is appropriate so you can sleep with little to no apneas or hypopneas.
- Follow your prescriptions. You need a prescription to begin CPAP therapy and will then be required to purchase various items including a humidifier and/or CPAP mask.
Remember, you must stay proactive during your receipt of treatment. You should make sure to learn everything that you can about sleep apnea as well as your available treatment options. If you encounter side effects, you should not hesitate to seek out suggested options. You should also make sure to gain an appreciation of how the equipment works and what you are expected to do in receiving the necessary treatment. If you have one of the recalled Philips breathing machines, you should not hesitate to speak with your medical provider before deciding whether or not to discontinue use of your breathing machine.
Contact an Experienced Defective Product Lawyer
If you or a loved one is a truck driver who has been impacted by the Philips recall of its breathing machines, you should not hesitate to speak with an experienced attorney. Contact the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe LLP today to schedule a free case evaluation.
For a free legal consultation, call 516-358-6900