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November 13, 2019

Teen With Lungs “Damaged Beyond Repair” From Vaping Gets Double Transplant

Vaping Causing Critical Damage Unlike Doctors Have Ever Seen

A 17-year-old boy with lungs “damaged beyond repair” by vaping received a double-lung transplant at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. According to the New York Times, the patient’s lungs were covered with dead spots, scarred, and incredibly inflamed to the point that there was no hope of saving or repairing the lungs. The transplant, performed last month, was a lifesaving measure, doctors declaring the boy would have faced “certain death” without the transplant.

“What I saw in his lungs is like nothing I’ve seen before, and I’ve been doing lung transplants for 20 years,” said Dr. Hassan Nehmeh, who led the teen’s surgical team. “This is an evil I haven’t faced before.”

The patient is currently recovering from the intensive surgery, but his doctors and family warn the public about the severity of his condition, cautioning others to quit vaping or never start.

“Within a very short period of time, our lives have been forever changed. He has gone from the typical life of a perfectly healthy 16-year-old athlete — attending high school, hanging out with friends, sailing and playing video games — to waking up intubated and with two new lungs, facing a long and painful recovery process as he struggles to regain his strength and mobility, which has been severely impacted.”

The hospital did not reveal what vaping products the teen used or how often he vaped. However, increasing vaping injury reports are finding vaping THC, the chemical in marijuana that gives it its high, to be a common factor in the vaping injury outbreak devastating thousands of lives. Of the patients hospitalized with vaping lung injuries in the recent outbreak, about 86 percent vaped THC prior to their hospitalization.

To read the New York Times’ full story, click here.

Vaping Injury Outbreak

As of November 5th, 2,051 people have been injured by vaping-linked illnesses, with 40 people dying from their injuries. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has since categorized the recent outbreak as full-blown epidemic and launched a nationwide investigation in March to find a common e-cigarette or vaping product behind the illnesses.

Recently the CDC discovered that many of the patients with vaping illnesses had a rare form of vitamin E laced into their lungs. The substance, vitamin E acetate, has been deemed by researchers as a “very strong culprit” for the vaping injuries, as the compound is very thick and sticky and may contribute to lung disease.

With the rise in vaping-linked lung injuries, many injured individuals are filing claims against e-cigarette manufacturers and distributors, saying that vaping companies failed to adequately warn the public about the extreme dangers of vaping their products. Notably, JUUL Labs, creators of the e-cigarette disguised to look like a USB drive, have found themselves at the heart of hundreds of lawsuits filed by young adults and the parents of teenagers who vaped JUUL products.

Individuals injured by JUUL e-cigarettes allege that JUUL Labs not only downplayed the dangerously addictive nature of their products but targeted children in their marketing campaigns. The FDA even pinpoints the rise in JUUL sales to the rise of vaping among American teenagers, which gave rise to the widespread teen vaping epidemic from 2015 to the present. Currently all JUUL injury lawsuits have been consolidated as part of a multidistrict litigation in San Francisco, home to one of JUUL Lab’s regional headquarters.

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