8 Teen Vapers Hospitalized With Lung Damage

Wisconsin cases leave doctors alarmed as state health officials investigate
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 26, 2019 10:48 AM CDT
8 Teen Vapers Hospitalized With Lung Damage
Children's Hospital of Wisconsin Chief Medical Officer Mike Gutzeit and Louella Amos, pediatric pulmonologist, listen during a news conference in Milwaukee, Wis., on Thursday.   (Mary Spicuzza/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel via AP)

Eight Wisconsin teens were hospitalized with lung damage believed to be linked to vaping—just within the last month. Vaping "is harming our kids … no matter what the product," Michael Gutzeit, chief medical officer for Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, said at a Thursday news conference, reports the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. The teens from Milwaukee, Waukesha, and Winnebago counties arrived at the hospital looking "very sick" and battling extreme cough, fatigue, and shortness of breath, says pediatric pulmonologist Louella Amos. It's "to the point where they can't breathe," she says, noting some teens also lost weight as a result of vomiting and diarrhea. State health officials are investigating the cause, but the common denominator is that all the teens reporting vaping in recent months. All but one have been released following steroid treatment.

Per WITI, a 26-year-old Burlington man is also in critical condition at Aurora Memorial Hospital after vaping THC from a cartridge purchased on the street. Doctors "weren't sure he was going to make it," the man's brother tells the Journal-Sentinel. Jonathan Meiman, chief medical officer with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, notes the short- and long-term effects of vaping aren't fully understood, but he believes the dangers are becoming clear. For example, a study published this year found nicotine vaping hindered the body's ability to clear phlegm and mucous. "Given the severity of the illness reported and that fact that it's affecting children, this is a top priority," Meiman says. (This city just banned e-cigarette sales.)

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