Burlington man suffers lung, heart damage linked to vaping

NOW: Burlington man suffers lung, heart damage linked to vaping

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Wisconsin’s Department of Health Services says 16 people have now been hospitalized with severe lung disease linked to vaping.

One of those was 26-year-old Dylan Nelson of Burlington. His mother, Kim Barnes, says he had been vaping for less than a year.

Nelson recently went to the hospital when he was having trouble breathing.

Doctors discovered lung and heart damage, and they put him in the ICU.

"He couldn't even talk to us,” Barnes said. “His chest - he was just up and down off the bed."

Nelson was put into a medically-induced coma and intubated.

"I didn't think he was going to come out of it,” Barnes said. “I thought I was seeing my son the last time."

In addition to the 16 confirmed cases, the DHS is investigating 15 others. Patients range from mid-teens to people in their 50s.

In July, Dr. Michael Gutzeit, the chief medical officer at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, said, "Vaping in teenagers is something that's causing harm to our kids, and we want that message to be loud and clear."

Gutzeit said in a statement Monday, “We continue to see an average of one new patient per week that we suspect is a result of vaping. The influx of patients being reported nationwide underscores the danger - vaping is not appropriate or healthy for children."

Nelson is out of the hospital and working again.

Barnes says doctors don’t know how much of the damage to his heart and lungs is permanent.

The long-term effects of vaping remain unclear.

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