Doctors are seeing an alarming trend at the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. Eight Milwaukee-area teens have been hospitalized with severe lung damage that’s believed to be caused by vaping.
While the exact cause of their illnesses remains unknown, Children’s Hospital doctors said all eight patients admitted to using e-cigarettes in the weeks and months leading up to their hospitalizations. It’s frightening news for Jack Calvey of Milwaukee, who vapes daily.
“I had no clue, I just bought vape juice actually,” he said. “Oh, no. That’s too bad.”
During July 2019, 8 cases of severe pulmonary disease were reported to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.
Children’s Hospital’s Chief Medical Officer Michael Gutzeit said the teens had a variety of symptoms leading up to their hospitalizations including the following:
— Significant coughing
— Shortness of breath
— Weight loss
— Severe fatigue
“Some of which have been hospitalized in our intensive care unit and have required significant therapy to help them breathe,” Gutzeit said.
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services is investigating to determine whether this trend has been caused by a certain brand or flavor of e-cigarette juice.
Doctors said the most concerning part is that the long-term effects of e-cigarettes remain largely unknown.
“These are teenagers facing the rest of their lives, and we don’t know what the potential impact or long-term effects of that will be,” said Gutzeit.
The American Lung Association in Wisconsin sent TODAY’S TMJ4 a statement regarding the teen hospitalizations. It reads in part:
“E-cigarettes contain chemicals, heavy metals and fine particulates. The candy and fruit-flavorings that so many youth find appealing also contain chemicals known to cause irreparable lung damage.”
“These are teenagers facing the rest of their lives, and we don’t know what the potential impact or long-term effects of that will be.” Children's Hospital's Chief Medical Officer Michael Gutzeit
Calvey thought he switched to a safer alternative.
“I smoked for a while, and it was a nice substitute,” he said. “It’s making me second guess a lot, yeah.”
Only one of those patients remains in the hospital. All eight are expected to survive.