Teen hospitalized after vaping gets rare double-lung transplant

Detroit — A Michigan teenager is recovering after a rare double-lung transplant. He’s one of more than 2,000 Americans who have been treated for severe lung damage blamed on vaping. At least 40 patients have died.

While the 16-year-old wants to remain anonymous, he wanted his story to be told. When he was transferred to Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit last month, he was near death, after his parents said he had been vaping. The teen was non-responsive, his lungs were horribly inflamed and filling with fluids and dead tissue. He had been to two hospitals before coming to Henry Ford. 

Doctors placed the teen on what’s called an ECMO machine, which breathed for him. But he deteriorated. The only thing that could save him was a double-lung transplant.

“This is an evil that I haven’t faced before. It was worse than my expectation,” said Dr. Hassan Nemeh.

Nemeh led the surgical team on October 15 in the six-hour operation, believed to be the first double-lung transplant for a victim of vaping. 

“I’ve seen lungs in bad condition before, but this is by far the worst,” Nemeh said.

Doctors wouldn’t say what the teen was vaping. But Nemeh and his team said he’s recovering now, breathing with his new lungs. But he has paid a terrible price for vaping.

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