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Puritan Bennett 980 Ventilator News

Over 650 Puritan Bennett 980 ventilators were recalled in July 2015 because of its failure to deliver the proper mixture of oxygen and humidity when used in the neonatal setting of the Volume Control Plus (VC+) mode. Lawsuits have ensued on the behalf of those who suffered death or injuries due to the faulty program setting of the units.

A ventilator, the Puritan Bennett 980 is a machine that supports breathing in patients who are unable to breathe completely on their own. A ventilator gets oxygen in the lungs and removes carbon dioxide from the body, which can be toxic in high levels. For some patients it is an aid to breathing. A ventilator will also do the breathing for those who are unable to breathe properly on their own.

Is the Puritan Bennett 980 Ventilator Safe?

Although there have been two recalls of the Puritan Bennett 980 to correct the software errors, there are periods in which it was used by patients when they may have been effected. There were 324 recalls of the ventilator in October 2014 and the second 650 in July of 2015 leaving a window of use by many patients who may have been directly affected by this ventilator. The safety of this machine is questionable if it was used on patients prior to its recall and the subsequent repairs and warnings to end users.

Used on patients of all ages, ventilators have settings that deliver oxygen in regulated amounts and humidity can be added to ease the patients breathing. The second recall concerned this issue with the Puritan Bennet 980 when used for neonatal patients in the VC+ mode, which was delivering an improper oxygen humidity mix. Neonatal patients had the highest risk of being affected by this particular malfunction.

A Class I recall by Covidien preceded the July 2015 recall of the Puritan Bennett 980 in November 2014 for machines with software versions 2.8 and below. The glitch was due to older versions of software that was causing some of the ventilators not to work after the air and oxygen supply lines were disconnected then reconnected. This glitch could cause death if the attending health care provider doesn’t recognize the machine fault and fails to get the patient back on oxygen quickly enough. This system failure could have affected children to seniors who were using the ventilator when the failure occurred.

Problems from a Faulty Ventilator

In neonatal patients, insufficient oxygen can lead to brain damage, long-term health problems or death. Brain damage is caused quickly when your body is deprived of oxygen and ventilators are the answer. However, when they do not work properly long-term health issues or even death can be the result.

The one issue related to the Puritan Bennett 980 is the air and humidity mixture when in the VC+ mode for neonatal patients. Oxygen deprivation can affect any patient but neonatal patients are particularly vulnerable. The other issue with this ventilator, prior to the 2014 recall, would cause patients to be without oxygen due to the machines malfunction. This could cause the patients to be without oxygen for sustained periods unless the medical staff had a quick back-up plan when the unit malfunctioned.

Legal Help for Patients

If your baby, or a loved one has had health issues due to the use of a ventilator you need to contact an attorney and find out what your legal rights are regarding the use of this product. Filing a lawsuit may be in order if you, a loved one, family or friend has been injured to the use of this device.  

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