Vaping causes 17-year-old's lungs to fail, doctors say
A teenager's vaping habit reportedly nearly cost him his life after his lungs became blocked to an almost fatal degree.
Tryston Zohfeld, from Texas, was left fighting for life in intensive care when his lungs collapsed as a result of puffing on e-cigarettes. The 17-year-old, who had been vaping since the eighth grade, knew there was something wrong when he began losing weight and felt constantly exhausted.
Learn more about the shocking effect vaping allegedly had on the teenager's health:
He also endured chest pain and a relentless inability to catch his breath. "I was tired all the time. My energy was low. I was losing some weight," Zohfeld said, according to The New York Post.
The recent Weatherford High School graduate was taken by his concerned mother to an urgent care clinic, where he was given antibiotics and flu medication. The next day, however, Zohfeld's symptoms grew even more severe.
"I woke up just throwing up everywhere, and my heart was beating out of my chest going 100 miles an hour," he told news station WFAA.
So this time, Zohfeld's mother took her son to Cook Children's Hospital in Forth Worth, Texas. It was there that the teen was placed in a medically induced coma, and hooked up to an oscillatory ventilator, which kept him alive for 10 days.
"The day they intubated him was the worst day of my life," his father, Matt, told WFAA. "We walked into this hospital very naive about what we were dealing with."
"We had no idea if he was going to make it through or not, and that was very difficult to come to terms with."
X-rays of Zohfeld's lungs indicated a complete blockage. Doctors ran a number of tests for various diseases, including pneumonia, but the results all came back negative. "They did the X-ray and it was completely cloudy, all the way through his lungs," Tryston's father, Matt Zohfeld said.
"We eliminated everything that we could possibly think of that could have caused it," Dr. Karen Schultz, a specialist in pediatrics and pulmonology, told ABC affiliate WFAA.
It was only when another family member revealed that Zohfeld regularly smoked e-cigarettes (a fact which his parents were reportedly unaware of) that doctors began to link the vaping habit to the teenager's deteriorating condition.
"The lightbulb started coming on," his father continued. "It started making sense why we weren’t finding anything else."
According to Dr. Karen Schultz, a pulmonary and pediatric specialist at the hospital, the chemicals Zohfeld was inhaling caused his lungs to inflame to the extent that they could no longer exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide anymore. Per CBS, the teen had caused enough irritation and damage to scar his lungs.
Zohfeld was discharged after an 18-day stay, and told WFAA that he and his friends have thrown away all of their e-cigarettes.
Speaking out about his experience, the teenager said: "This is really what could happen and it’s not something to look over. They’re not as safe as you think."
His family has since set up a GoFundMe account to pay for his medical expenses, but says that they "have been told to expect up to two years to get back to himself with the understanding that there may be lifelong damage." As of this writing, the $2,905 of donations have been raised of the $2,500 target.
Dr. Susan Walley, a pediatrician at University of Alabama in Birmingham, recently told CBS: "There has been an astronomical increase of teens and young adults who are using e-cigarettes. We're also seeingwith use that implies they have very high levels of addiction."