CPAP device recall leaves Army veteran concerned for his health

CPAP device recall leaves Army veteran concerned for his health
Published: Aug. 9, 2021 at 6:48 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - Concerns about cancer have led to a recall of Philips Respironics’ CPAP devices which help people with sleep apnea.

Those who relied on the machine, like U.S. Army Air veteran Alvin Costner, have not only been suffering but are also fearful they might have cancer.

“I’m afraid that I’m gonna die in my sleep and on the other hand, I’m also concerned, ‘do I have cancer or not,’” Costner said. “From what they’re saying, this causes and they’re not telling us what kind of cancer this is either.”

Costner was diagnosed with sleep apnea more than 20 years ago and was provided CPAP machines through Cincinnati Veterans Affairs. The CPAP helps regulate his breathing and increases oxygen to help his lungs function properly.

“It’s agonizing,” said Costner. “I mean, you snore and wake yourself up and you stop breathing several times. When they researched me, my breathing would stop 38 times per hour, and so it causes you to have sweats and to be fatigued the next day when you think you’re rested, you really haven’t had any rest.”

Since the recall, Costner said he has been nervous to use the machine, especially since he started smelling fumes from it a few months ago.

Without it though, he said sleeping is not easy.

Costner said he wants health leaders to be more proactive in providing all new machines.

“It’s frightening for me and my family. Like, as I said, my wife stays up to make sure I can continue to breathe overnight and my children are concerned,” said Costner. “So, it’s a lot of stress. It’s quite a bit of stress just not knowing whether I’m going to be able to wake up the next day.”

FOX19 NOW did reach out to the VA but has not heard back directly.

The VA did relay a message saying they have reached out to the representatives with Philips and are working on coming up with a solution.

Costner said he was told by the VA they are going to begin giving out 15 new CPAP machines a week that are manufactured by a different company.

He said he is among the first in line to receive one.

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