Man asks Speakers Corner for help after waiting 2 years to get ‘lifesaving device’ replaced

Bryan Gyene, who suffers from a severe form of sleep apnea, reached out to Speakers Corner after a machine he uses to help him sleep was recalled two years ago and never replaced. Pat Taney reports.

By Pat Taney

Millions of Canadians have some form of sleep apnea.

Bryan Gyene, who lives in Aurora, was diagnosed several years ago with a severe form that greatly impacted his life.

“Before I was diagnosed, my life was awful, without proper sleep I couldn’t drive. I couldn’t function. I couldn’t read. I was suicidal,” he said.

After going through sleep studies, it was determined his oxygen intake was dangerously low during sleep. Doctors told him he needed a device to help, one of the most expensive machines on the market, an Adaptive-Servo Ventilator (ASV), which Gyene paid $7,000 to purchase several years ago. Money he says, that was very well spent.

“This machine has been a lifesaver, I actually feel like I’m getting a proper night’s sleep and can function during the day.”

The device is made by Philips Respironics, a leader in the sleep and respiratory market. But in 2021, Philips issued a voluntary recall of the ASV and several other sleep devices after it was determined foam pieces could possibly break off during use. According to Health Canada, that could lead to potential health issues in users.

As part of the recall, Philips asked all current users to register their device and they would be given a replacement.

Gyene followed all the proper steps and was notified he would be getting a replacement by the end of 2022.

“Both myself and the vendor where I purchased the ASV have tried multiple times to reach out to Philips since then, but they couldn’t say when the device was coming. To date, I still have no idea if I am actually going to get a replacement.”

Gyene says he has tried alternative devices but they don’t work so he continues to use the recalled device.

“I don’t have a choice. On one hand there is a potential that it could cause health issues but I can’t afford to not use it because the alternative is worse for me.”

While Gyene has not noticed any adverse health issues by continuing to use his recalled ASV, he says a new machine would give him added peace of mind.

“If I could go out and buy another one, I would,” he said. “But I have been unable to source that. I am entitled to a new one under the recall. I don’t want a refund, I just need a new machine.”

Frustrated after not getting answers from Philips Respironics, Gyene reached out to Speakers Corner for help.

“If you could find out what is happening with my replacement, that would be great. I just need answers at this point.”

Philips Respironics responded to our request with a promise to look into Gyene’s case. While they could not comment specifically on a patient, they reached out to Gyene immediately after we contacted them.

Gyene says he was told by a Philips representative that they did send a new device in 2023, shipping it to the vendor where he purchased the original one — information he says he was never told after making multiple inquiries into his case.

“They never told me that and I checked. The vendor has no record of ever receiving a replacement.”

As for what went wrong, Philips again could not comment on individual cases, citing privacy laws. But they did give Gyene some good news.

“Philips has agreed to send me a new machine,” he told us by phone days after we first met with him. “Thanks so much to CityNews, we never would’ve uncovered this information without you guys reaching out.”

Philips says he should receive his new ASV by the end of next week.

“To say this will be a lifesaver is an understatement,” he told us.

If you have an issue, story or question you’d like us to look into, reach out here.

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