Vaping-related injuries no stranger to the Triangle

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — There are at least 380 confirmed cases of vaping-related lung injuries in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Christopher Machelski, 28, is one of those cases. 

Machelski said he started smoking a THC vape pen to help manage life with Crohn’s disease, but it backfired.

“I woke up in the middle of the night by myself, sweating profusely, coughing, all I remember then was waking up outside my room on the floor yelling for help,” he said.

He’s now being treated for inflamed and congested lungs.

Similar cases are popping up all across the country, including at WakeMed Health and Hospitals in Raleigh.

Doctor Kevin Davidson, a pulmonary and critical care physician at WakeMed, says they’ve seen six vaping-related lung injury cases in Raleigh since August.

The patients were all between 18 and 35 years old.

“They basically just have a shared history of vaping and in particular, marijuana oils,” said Dr. Davidson.

Oftentimes, they’ve already seen several other doctors.

Since it’s still a rare and recently-diagnosed entity, hospitals may not ask about vaping.

The symptoms are ones Dr. Davidson’s used to seeing in older adults: Shortness of breath, fever, stomach pain, nausea and vomiting.

“Now we’re seeing it clustered in very young, healthy patients.”

He says until they know exactly what’s causing harm within these electronic devices, the safest thing to do is stop smoking them entirely.

Dr. Davidson and his colleagues wrote a report on the cases they’ve seen at WakeMed. It’s since been published by the CDC.

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