A mother is warning other parents after her daughter suffered a nearly fatal illness as a result of a vaping habit. The 18-year-old is just the latest in a string of reported illnesses and even death related to e-cigarettes.
In August, Ruby Johnson and her husband started their drive to Colorado to take their youngest daughter, Piper, to college for her freshman year.
But the family never reached their destination.
“As we began our drive, Piper was coughing and mentioned that it hurt to take a deep breath,” Johnson wrote in a Facebook post.
The family kept driving until the teenager’s symptoms became more severe.
Finally, they stopping at an urgent care clinic.
“We seriously thought this would be a quick visit,” Johnson explained. “That she possibly had bronchitis and she’d be fixed up quick and moving into her dorm the next day… that isn’t at all what happened.”
A CT scan revealed that Piper had “diffuse pneumonia.” Worse still, the illness was not contained to one lobe of the lungs but was spread out and quickly worsening.
The severe symptoms continued as doctors administered oxygen, antibiotics, pain medication and a diuretic in an effort to keep the young woman’s lungs clear of fluid.
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Piper “couldn’t even get up to go to the bathroom without all her alarms screaming because her oxygen saturation would dip,” Johnson said. “It became clear we weren’t moving her in. In fact, we weren’t leaving the hospital at all that day. Or any day soon.”
The illness continued to run its course as Piper’s doctor researched possible causes. Eventually, it became clear that the symptoms were likely a result of Piper’s vaping habit.
“The nurses and I had to wear masks to protect us from whatever virus or bacteria had begun to literally wreak havoc on her body,” Johnson said. “She cried to her nurse that it hurt too bad to take a breath.”
As she watched her daughter suffer, Johnson knew she had to warn other parents about the dangers of e-cigarettes.
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“I ask the questions, I stay current on the dangers out there. But PARENTS- your kids will make bad choices. It will happen,” Johnson warned. “And I’m not going to keep silent. Because God didn’t give me a big mouth for nothing and you always have the opportunity to turn your MESS into your MESSAGE.”
“How does a healthy 18 year old become a VERY sick patient whose oxygen needs just keep increasing? VAPING. That’s how,” she continued. “She became Colorado’s first confirmed case of what was called a ‘sudden and severe lung illness due to vaping.’”
The Centers for Disease Control released an advisory on Friday in response to the recent influx of vaping-related illnesses. Vaping is most popular among young adults and children as young as middle school age.
“As of August 27, 2019, 215 possible cases have been reported from 25 states, and additional reports of pulmonary illness are under investigation,” the advisory said.
At least one adult in Illinois died recently after using an e-cigarette, the report stated.
“Both the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are working tirelessly to investigate the distressing incidents of severe respiratory disease associated with use of e-cigarette products,” CDC Director Robert R. Redfield and Acting FDA Commissioner Ned Sharpless wrote in their joint statement.
The FDA is investigating a potential link between vaping and seizures pic.twitter.com/Kx4a2Xqdoz
— Bloomberg TicToc (@tictoc) September 1, 2019
Piper Johnson was released from the hospital and is set to make a full recovery. Her parents credit her survival to God, as well as the doctors and nurses who worked tirelessly to save their daughter’s life.
“Her lung doctor told us, he fears that had we waited one more day she’d have been unresponsive on a ventilator,” Johnson wrote, adding, “[I] truly believe that God held us on this journey and I’m sending up prayers of gratitude for this outcome. Now, she is calling for action, begging other parents to educate and protect their children.
“We are failing our kids here. They are being wooed by an industry that has zero regard for their safety and health and the departments that are designed to protect them ARE. NOT. DOING. IT. Nobody is going to protect them if we don’t.”
“Do your research. Talk to your kids. Talk to their friends. Talk until you’re out of breath,” she wrote. “Or they just might be.”