December 15, 2019

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Putting a Face on Vape Lung Injuries and Deaths

To date, the CDC has reported over 1200 cases of rapid onset “Vape Lung” disease, including over 26 deaths. While the exact cause is not yet identified, all cases are linked vaping.

The outbreak inspired several states to institute restrictive bans on the sale of e-cigarettes, including a full ban by Massachusetts (recently overturned by the courts).

It is important to keep focused on those being injured by vape products during this interminable FDA paralysis period.

Here are a few cases:

  1. Adam Hergenreder, 18, was told by doctors that he now has the lungs of a 70-year-old after vaping for 1.5 years. Adam admits he was addicted but then suddenly became ill. At the onset, Adam developed shivers and vomiting. During a CT scan of his stomach, doctors luckily noticed that the lower lungs were abnormal—it was severe lung disease. Adam was quoted saying, “If I had known what it was doing to my body, I would have never even touched it, but I didn’t know. I wasn’t educated.”

  2. Tryston Zohfeld, 17, spent 10 days on a ventilator before doctors determined his lung condition was caused by vaping. Tryston’s doctors were quoted saying “the scarring in his lungs could have a lasting effect, but he’s expected to live…a fairly normal life.” Others were not so lucky…

  3. Daniel Wakefield, 18, died of breathing complications his family claims were caused by his Juul addiction. They claim “he was so addicted that hospital staff applied nicotine patches during his stay to prevent withdrawal.” Even though Daniel had episodes of childhood asthma in the past, his family claimed he didn’t experience any breathing problems for years prior to using Juul. His family recently filed a lawsuit against Juul for liability in Daniel’s death.

  4. A 17-year-old New Yorker was hospitalized twice last month with a vaping-related lung illness before he recently died from the illness. He is considered the youngest victim of the so-called “vape lung” epidemic.

According to the CDC, as of October 8, 2019, 1,299 lung injury cases associated with vaping have been reported from 49 states, the District of Columbia, and one U.S. territory. Twenty-six deaths have been confirmed in 21 states. All patients have reported a history of using e-cigarettes or other vaping products.

Ironically, former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, who is known for blocking the implementation of e-cigarette regulation in 2016, was recently quoted saying, “You can’t inhale something into the lungs that way on a repeated basis and not cause some damage to the lung.” Although this is a stunning turnaround for Gottlieb, his words still mean very little because as a former FDA chief, he no longer has the authority to do something useful to control e-cigarette health hazards.

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About this Author

Domenic B. Sanginiti, Jr, Stark Law, Personal Injury Lawyer, Civil Litigation Attorney
Shareholder

Domenic B. Sanginiti, Jr. is a Shareholder and member of the Accident & Personal Injury Group. Mr. Sanginiti concentrates on catastrophic personal injury matters, negligent security claims, wrongful death and product liability matters. Mr. Sanginiti also focuses his practice on the hazards and defects of lithium ion batteries, e-cigarettes, and other vaping products. Mr. Sanginiti is currently leading the Juul litigation at Stark & Stark and...

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