A Pennsylvania teen remains in a medically induced coma after developing a mysterious and severe lung illness that doctors believe to be somehow linked to vaping.
Kevin Boclair, a 19-year-old college student, is one of hundreds of people – mostly teens and young adults – who have become severely sickened after vaping. He was admitted to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and remains dependent on a heart and lung machine to stay alive.
His parents, Debbie and Len Boclair, told Philadelphia’s ABC 6 Action News that Kevin started having coughing fits two weeks ago and went to the hospital when they started worsening. Doctors have since worked to identify the cause of his pulmonary distress but haven’t been able to figure out exactly what is happening.
They aren’t alone. Doctors across the country are working with state and federal health officials to find out why so many people are developing severe lung illnesses that they believe are somehow related to vaping.
Last week, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) jointly announced that they are investigating 215 possible cases like Kevin’s. The mysterious outbreaks have occurred in 25 states, and many other cases remain under investigation.
One person from Illinois has died from severe respiratory illness doctors think was caused by vaping, and several others had or continue to have a close brush with death, including a 17-year-old Texan whose lungs became severely blocked after years of vaping, and a 19-year-old Utah woman who says she will “never vape again” after she developed severe lung problems and nearly died. An 18-year-old Florida college student has also become an anti-vaping crusader after one of his lungs collapsed and developed black spots.
“They know it’s vaping, but this is even new to the doctors,” Debbie Boclair told ABC 6 News. “They told me outright, we’re treating all the things he has. When he came in he had double pneumonia — they treated that with antibiotics. They’re treating all the different things. But there’s parts they don’t even know what’s going on.”
She also said that her son’s prognosis and recovery are uncertain. Doctors say Kevin could recover on his own or may require lung surgery. There is also a chance he won’t survive the lung illness.
In an August 30 advisory, the CDC recommends that “while this investigation is on-going, if you are concerned about these specific health risks, consider refraining from the use of [vaping] products.”