Doctors Perform Double-Lung Transplant on Vaping Victim with Irreparable Lung Damage

Cheryl Sanders
November 13, 2019

Nehmeh said the teen's lungs were firm and thick with damaged tissue that had no chance of healing. Spots of dead tissue speckled both lungs, signalling to the medical team that the damage was "irreversible", said Victor Coba, a specialist in critical care medicine at Henry Ford who also treated the patient.

Staff at Henry Ford Hospital announced Monday that they believe that this is the first double-lung transplant in the us on a person with damage from vaping, the Detroit Free Press reported.

The Henry Ford team put a portable ECMO unit into the trunk of one of their cars and drove about 10 miles to the children's hospital.

On Sept. 6, the then-16-year-old, who was not identified due to the family's request for privacy, was admitted to Ascension St. John Hospital in Detroit, where he was treated for suspected pneumonia.

"(The boy) has gone from the typical life of a perfectly healthy 16-year old 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".

Doctors at Henry Ford Health System say he's slowly recovering. And we have so much respect for this family for allowing us to share their pain to prevent the same from happening to others. Working together as a team, we were able to evaluate him and place him on the Organ Transplant Waiting List on October 8, 2019. He also believed it was the first vaping-related double lung transplant for a teenager in the US. When his condition worsened, he was transferred to Children's Hospital of MI, where he was placed on an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machine to help his lungs heal. He was later moved to the Children's Hospital of MI after his condition worsened and was hooked up to a life-support device called an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation machine, or ECMO. They are pleading with everyone to stop using e-cigarettes. "We are just beginning to see the enormous health effect jeopardizing the youth in our country ... these vaping products should not be used in any fashion". Now, the teenager can breathe without support and is undergoing physical therapy to regain his strength, his doctors said.

The medical team repeated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statistics about the deadly dangers of vaping; there have been 39 fatalities nationwide, and over 2,000 instances of illnesses.

CDC officials called it a "breakthrough" in their ongoing investigation. Vitamin E acetate previously was found in liquid from electronic cigarettes and other vaping devices used by many who got sick and only recently has been used as a vaping fluid thickener.

National and state findings suggest that these THC containing products, are particularly from "informal sources", such as "friends, or family, or in-person or online dealers, [and] are linked to most of the cases and play a major role in the outbreak". Today the Henry Ford Transplant Institute is the most comprehensive transplant center in MI offering transplantation of liver, kidney, intestine and multivisceral organs, pancreas, heart, lung and stem cell with superior patient outcomes.

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