KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) – National headlines are hitting closer to home now that a local teenager has been rushed to the ER for vaping-related injuries.
The 17-year-old spent 10 days at the University of Kansas Hospital recovering from what happened. She has since been released and the vape she used has been turned over to the CDC.
She went to the hospital simply because she had trouble breathing after using a vape infused with THC for nine months.
She said that at first it was relaxing, then the headaches, fatigue, and nausea kicked in. Things became frightening about two weeks ago.
“That was the first time I was scared,” the teen said. “I couldn’t get a good breath, breathing fast. Never experienced anything like that. I was really scared.”
Her mother then decided she needed to go to the ER.
“I just couldn’t breathe that well and then my fever,” she said. “That morning, when I woke up, I just felt really like… it was weird. I just felt not like myself. I felt lifeless.”
“You never think it’s going to happen to you,” she said. “I never thought I’d be in the hospital because I vaped, and you just never know. It’s scary.”
Eventually, the teen was transferred to the University of Kansas Hospital where doctors quickly realized the situation was more than pneumonia. Sure enough, a CT scan and x-ray confirmed there was lung damage, not an infection.
“For someone who can walk and talk with no oxygen requirements to almost be put on a ventilator, it’s a pretty scary situation,” said Dr. Mike Lewis.
Dr. Lewis treated the teen, who was experiencing severe breathing problems, spiking fevers, and blood pressure concerns. She was prescribed steroids and took breathing treatments.
“Just like it happened here, it can happen again,” Dr. Lewis said. “There are a lot of people who vape who think it’s not that bad for them.”
Vaping is a danger Dr. Lewis and the teen are warning about. Deaths are being reported and there are hundreds of people with serious injuries.
“Right now, it’s still definitely really weak and out of it,” the teen said. “My breathing is better than what it was, but still getting a good breath hurts.”
It’s unclear if she will have long-term damage, because vaping injuries are so new.
The family really credits the University of Kansas Hospital and the whole team there for putting the pieces together so quickly and realizing it was a vaping injury.