Teen in coma after vaping every day
A teenage girl says she will never touch a vape again after she was put into a medically induced coma when her lungs started to deteriorate.
Maddie Nelson, 18, from Nephi, in the US state of Utah, had been vaping every day for three years when she was taken to hospital in late July with a high fever, breathing difficulties and intense kidney pain.
Doctors found she had acute eosinophilic pneumonia - a rare disease caused by a build-up of white blood cells in the lungs in response to inflammation.
"The nurses tried giving her oxygen hoping it would help, but it wasn't enough," Maddie's sister Andrea Fullmer wrote on a GoFundMe page.
A few days later, the teenager was transferred to another hospital where she was rushed to the ICU.
"At this point, Maddie could barely breathe, and after two hours of being in this state, she was incredibly exhausted and didn't know how much longer she was going to last. The situation went from serious to potentially fatal," Andrea said. "When her chest X-ray came back, the damage to her lungs was so severe the respiratory therapist will be using it as a teaching aid."
The family made the difficult decision to put Maddie in an induced coma.
"This was a hard decision for us to make, her condition seemed to be getting worse fast and we were scared we may never be able to talk to our sister again," Andrea said.
After several tests to determine the cause of Maddie's condition, Andrea said on August 1 her sister was officially diagnosed after two bronchoscopies.
"Test results showed she has been enduring acute eosinophilic pneumonia. Her doctor suspects it's from electronic vaping sources, this includes all supposedly 'safe' alternatives to smoking such as e-cigarettes, juuls, pens."
After doctors gave Maddie steroids to help combat inflammation, Andrea said her sister began to make dramatic improvements.
"On August 3rd, after three days in a medically induced coma, Maddie was brought back to a conscious state and is continuing to improve. She is now breathing and eating on her own and with some help from a pulmonologist, we are hoping for a full recovery!"
'I THOUGHT VAPING WAS FINE'
Maddie, who is still being monitored, told FOX13 she had vaped every day for three years.
"I thought vaping was fine," she said.
"I did all the tricks, all the time."
She told the publication she started out with zero nicotine vape juice but eventually increased to 3mg of nicotine.
"I used all sorts of different products, from all sorts of vape shops across Utah County," she explained.
But it was only after she woke up from her coma that she learnt the extent of her habit and the damage it had caused to her health.
"I had fat particles growing inside my lungs that were related to the glycerine in vape juice," Maddie said.
"So then my lungs were full of fluid. They said that my chest X-rays were one of the worst they've ever seen."
Although the teenager initially recovered, she still needs to use oxygen at night and continues to be monitored.
"It's very scary because the doctors don't know the long-term effects of this," she said.
"So they don't know what the healing process is even supposed to be like."
Maddie and her siblings were shocked to discover how little research there was around vaping and wanted to shed light on her experience to raise more awareness about the potential risks associated with such a habit.
"Maddie's generation and those after her are the guinea pigs of the popularising of the 'vape life', and after only a few years we are seeing some pretty scary side effects," the siblings posted on the GoFundMe page. "Next time you reach for your juul and feel good about not smoking, think again."
Maddie's story comes after a man died from vaping last month.
His death is believed to be the first of its kind and has triggered concerns about the safety of vaping.
Authorities haven't identified the man who died, but he is known to have lived in the state of Illinois and was between the ages of 17 and 38 at the time of his death.
Another 18-year-old's lung also collapsed from vaping - he too has warned people of the dangers of vaping.