Blogs > Sleeping with CPAP

Assistant News Editor Lee Dryden was diagnosed with sleep apnea and uses a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine to assist with breathing while sleeping. From a layman’s point of view, he will discuss the benefits, issues, challenges and frustrations of sleeping while wearing a mask.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Sleep studies are safe despite death

  Sleep studies have gotten some unwanted publicity recently with a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of a 25-year-old man who died during a study.
  FOX 5 Atlanta reports Brandon Harris’ family says he died when sleep technicians did not act quickly enough after his gestures for help during a study to determine if he had sleep apnea.
  His family said it was dangerous for him to lie on his back for long periods — as is needed when hooked to wires during studies — because he was very overweight and suffered from heart problems, high blood pressure and diabetes.
  The health facility has said the medical attention was appropriate and Harris died of sudden cardiac arrest, FOX 5 reported.
  Harris’ death has prompted the proposed Brandon Harris Act which would change Georgia law to require 24-hour staffing by a sleep specialist or professional nurse, mandate CPR training for sleep technicians and require a defibrillator in each room.
  My concern is that this incident could make people more reluctant to undergo sleep studies that are needed to diagnose their sleep apnea. It’s already difficult to convince many people to do this.
  The proposed requirements are a good idea and I’m confident safeguards are already in place at sleep centers.
  Harris’ death was a tragedy that shouldn’t be repeated, but it appears to be an isolated case and he clearly had other health issues. I believe sleep studies are safe and closely monitored by professionals.  
  If you have concerns, ask your doctor.
  But, please, don’t let your sleep apnea go untreated. While it’s a bit odd to be watched, sleep studies are a necessary step on the road to safe sleeping.


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