CPAP machines are meant to save lives by preventing your airway from being blocked while you sleep. Many people who have died because they could not breathe normally at night could have been saved if they had and used a CPAP machine. However, there is the flip side of the coin. CPAP machines that fail to do what they are meant to do can be responsible for the patient's death. If your partner died in his/her sleep using a CPAP machine, here is what you should do next.
Secure the CPAP Machine
If the police do not take the machine for their investigation into your partner's death, bag the whole thing up and keep it for your lawyer. You will need to hire a personal injury attorney. Personal injury attorneys handle these kinds of cases, and yours may very well be that kind of case. Of course, your lawyer cannot prove it if he/she does not have the CPAP machine in question.
Get the Coroner's Report
If you were married to your bed partner, you can get a copy of the coroner's report. Give the report, which will reveal the suspected cause of death and details, to your lawyer. If you cannot get a copy, or if you were not married to the decedent, your lawyer can request a copy by subpoena.
Establish Cause of Death
If your partner died from suffocation as the result of a blocked airway, you can investigate why. Was the CPAP on when this happened? Was he/she wearing the mask appropriately? Did the hose strangulate him/her (which is entirely possible)? Did the machine malfunction and shut off? Were there any power outages in the neighborhood that night? There are a lot of questions to answer before you can pursue your lawsuit.
How Your Lawyer Will Proceed
Barring any power outages and lack of use of the CPAP mask, your lawyer, such as from Lerner, Piermont & Riverol, P.A., can pursue a negligence case. A CPAP is set to produce greater pressure flow whenever the patient stops breathing. If the CPAP failed, you can sue the manufacturer. You may also be able to sue the medical supply company who set up the machine and gave it to your partner, since the air pressure settings are done and adjusted as needed by the pulmonary therapist. If the hose strangled your partner in a freak accident, you can sue the design company of this particular model of sleep mask too.