Kids Safety Network

Michigan Teen With Vape-Related Illness Undergoes Double Lung Transplant

A Teenage Boy in Michigan is said to be the very first patient to undergo a double lung transplant as a result of irreversible damage to his organs from vaping.

Surgeons at Henry Ford Hospital said that without the transplant the 17-year-old would have died.

Dr. Hassan Nehmeh, a thoracic surgeon and the hospital’s thoracic surgical director, said: “Our teen patient would have faced certain death if it were not for the lung transplant happening”.

On September 6, the teen was admitted to Ascension St. John Hospital in Detroit, where he was treated for suspected pneumonia.

After his condition worsened, he was taken to Children’s Hospital of Michigan, where he was put on an extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) machine to help his lungs heal.

His condition continued to deteriorate which prompted his medical team to contact the lung transplant team at Henry Ford Hospital and begin coordinating his transfer.

Nehmeh said that his lungs were firm and thick with damaged tissue that had no chance of healing.

It’s unclear what type of vaping products the teen had been using, or for how long he had been using them.

 “This is an evil I have not seen before,” Nehmeh said.

The teen underwent a double lung transplant on October 15 and he has since been taken off a ventilator and is mobile in the hospital but faces weeks of recovery.

Dr. Lisa Allenspach, a pulmonologist at the hospital, read a statement from the family that had a request for privacy. They did express the hope that the details of the teen’s ordeal would dissuade others from picking up the vaping habit.

“We are here today to beg the public to pay special attention to the steps that were taken in this case,” said Dr. Nicholas Yeldo, an anesthesiologist at the hospital who has advocated for smoking cessation aimed at teenagers.

Without the heroic measures, in this case, this young patient would have died there is no doubt about it. I beg of you, this was not just the unlucky one. This is happening way, way too much for us to turn our heads to this.”


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