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Milwaukee woman frustrated by medical supplier emails offering parts to her recalled CPAP machine

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Posted at 6:57 AM, Dec 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-02 08:04:34-05

MILWAUKEE — Lisa Gross of Milwaukee contacted the I-Team about her recalled Philips Dreamstation CPAP machine.

Click here to see the I-Team's previous coverage on the global recall.

Gross, who has suffered from asthma for years, says she was getting a confusing message from the medical supply company, AeroCare, about ordering supplies for the device, which was recalled over potential health risks from the noise-canceling foam inside.

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Lisa Gross

"If you're going to be clear with somebody and they have recalled the machine, then clearly you should not be sending emails every few days," said Gross.

Gross showed the I-Team several emails she has received from AeroCare letting her know she's eligible for replacement parts and supplies for her CPAP machine with insurance reimbursement.

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The emails

The emails were not offering replacement foam, but Gross says it's all the same to her.

"These parts go with this machine that has the foam inside," Gross said.

"So that's sending me the wrong message, like if I didn't know any better, I would still think it's okay to use this," Gross added.

A spokesperson for the parent company of AdaptHealth provided the below statement to the I-Team:

"As I'm sure you can understand, HIPAA limits our ability to discuss any information about specific patients.

Speaking more broadly, Philips' updated recall notification, which is aligned with the FDA's recommendations, advises patients using CPAP devices to consult with their physician on their treatment plan before deciding to suspend use of their unit pending replacement by Philips.

The majority of AdaptHealth's patients have elected to continue using their devices. The company continues providing service (including inquiry into the need for the purchase of CPAP supplies) to patients.

In all cases, patients aren't required to purchase supplies if they aren't needed."

Lisa Gross stopped using her machine when she learned about the recall over the summer. She has been using it since 2016. Gross said she may need vocal cord surgery and did fill out a form to be a part of legal action against Philips.

The I-Team also contacted Philips asking how it is working with medical supplies during this recall process. A spokesperson provided the below statement:

"Relating to your question on patient communications, as noted in our earlier statement, Philips often does not own or manage the patient's contact information – many patients purchase their devices through third parties. Philips is working with those third parties (Durable Medical Equipment providers - DMEs) to also reach patients directly as quickly as possible. We are working around the clock to continue to reach out to our customers and patients.

We are requesting that patients with affected devices currently in use to register their products on our dedicated web site to facilitate repair. Registration is what formally starts the repair / replacement process. If a Durable Medical Equipment provider (DME) registers a product for a patient, the DME will manage the replacement process and be in contact regarding the status and expected time frame. If a patient registers their product, Philips and the DME will consult to determine which organization will manage the replacement process. If the DME authorizes Philips to perform the replacement, Philips will be in contact regarding the status and expected time frame. This process is necessary to move forward, and may take some time.

Philips continues to recommend that affected patients please follow the advice of their physicians, as they are most familiar with a patient's medical history.

As part of the recall process, if a patient experiences a possible health complaint regarding affected devices, Philips would direct those patients to report those events to the appropriate authorities, as noted in the recall notification.

We regret to hear the report of the patient's health issues, and we would like to express hope for their speedy recovery.

Please let us know if we can provide further information or support."

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