A Michigan teen who underwent a double-lung transplant after he developed severe and irreversible vaping-related lung damage is warning others to stay away from vapes.
Like most teens, Daniel Ament, 17, gave little thought to the health hazards posed by vaping. But all of that changed in September when his lungs became so ravaged by vaping that doctors at Children’s Hospital of Michigan placed him on life support hoping that he would heal.
When his condition continued to deteriorate, Daniel was transferred to Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit and moved to the top of the transplant list. The emergency transplant was successful, but Daniel will need to take a multitude of prescription drugs – 30 pills a day – for the rest of his life.
He told CBS News that one day he was vaping and the next thing he remembers was waking up in a hospital 40 days later. He said his muscles had atrophied so much that he couldn’t lift his head or even talk.
His surgeons said after the surgery that Daniel faces a long and “intense” recovery process but described his prognosis as “very good.”
Although the lung transplant has given him a new lease on life, Daniel has had to scrap his dream of becoming a NAVY Seal.
In November, Dr. Hassan Nemeh, the surgeon who performed Daniel’s double-lung transplant, expressed his alarm over the severe damage vaping can cause on a person’s lungs.
“What I saw in [Daniel’s] lungs is like nothing I’ve seen before, and I’ve been doing lung transplants for 20 years,” Dr. Nemeh, the Surgical Director of Thoracic Organ Transplant at Henry Ford Hospital, said. “The damage that these vapes do to people’s lungs is irreversible. Please think of that – and tell your children to think of that,” Dr. Nemeh added.
Daniel is one of the 2,711 confirmed cases of vaping product use-associated lung injury (EVALI) reported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These vaping injuries were reported from all 50 states. As of Jan. 21, 60 people have died as a result of EVALI.
Daniel told CBS News that he is speaking out now in the hope that it will spare someone else from going through what happened to him.
“I just don’t want this to happen to other people,” he said.
Beasley Allen lawyers Joseph VanZandt and Sydney Everett, together with Mass Torts Section Head Andy Birchfield, are currently representing several individuals who are suing the top U.S. vape maker JUUL for the negative impact its products have had on their lives.