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Lung Transplant Surgeon: Vaping Damage Is 'Evil I Haven't Faced Before'

17-year-old patient received double transplant
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 13, 2019 3:35 AM CST
A photo of a patient being transported is displayed while medical staff at Henry Ford Hospital answer questions during a news conference in Detroit, Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019.   (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
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(Newser) – After he led a team that successfully performed a double lung transplant on a teenager, a doctor at Detroit's Henry Ford Hospital said he was shocked by what vaping had done to the young man. "What I saw in his lungs is nothing that I have ever seen before, and I have been doing lung transplants for 20 years," Dr. Hassan Nemeh, the hospital's surgical director of thoracic organ transplant, said Tuesday, per the Detroit Free Press. "There was inflammation and scarring and dead tissue. This is an evil that I haven't faced before." The patient, who turned 17 while hospitalized, was not identified. Family members say that before he became ill, he was a "perfectly healthy 16-year old athlete" who enjoyed sailing, reports the Detroit News.

The teen was first hospitalized Sept. 5 with pneumonia-like symptoms. No information on what product he was vaping was released. Doctors say his health continued to decline while he was in the hospital and he would have died within days without the transplant, which took place on Oct. 15. The median survival rate for people who have a double lung transplant is 6.6 years, but doctors say that given the patient's age, he has a very good chance of living a lot longer than that. He is now breathing on his own, but his family says he faces a long and painful recovery process, ABC reports. Doctors and the boy's family urged vapers to quit immediately. "A senseless disease process," Nemeh said. "Somehow, it's being portrayed as a benign habit." (Read more vaping stories.)

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