The staff at Cook Children’s Hosptial in Fort Worth couldn’t figure out what was wrong with Tryston Zohfeld. The 17-year-old’s parents had rushed him to the ICU when he stated vomiting excessively and had chills, fatigue, and an elevated heart rate.
“I woke up just throwing up everywhere, and my heart was beating out of my chest going 100 miles an hour,” he told WFAA.
Doctors put him into a medically-induced coma and intubated him to keep him alive. An X-ray revealed a blockage in his lungs, but a battery of tests for various infections and diseases came back negative. It was only when a family member revealed that Zohfeld had been vaping for years that doctors figured out what was happening: the chemicals Tryston had been inhaling inflamed his lungs to the point where they couldn’t exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide.
Zohfeld joins dozens of other people (at least) who have suffered serious medical consequences from consuming e-cigarettes. When he started vaping in eighth grade, he joined over five percent of his middle school peers, a number that’s probably even higher today as the e-cigarette industry continues to target kids through legal but ethically questionable means like recruiting social media influencers.
And though they may not be as unhealthy as cigarettes (and to some extent, the jury is still out on this), vapes have been scientifically proven to be pretty terrible for you for a whole host of reasons.
For his part, Zohfeld seems to have learned from the ordeal, which caused him to lose 25 pounds.
“I just remember waking up having no muscle movement, and not being able to move. Just extremely terrified for my life I guess,” Zohfeld said, adding “I was definitely given a second chance, and as soon as I woke up from that coma I knew what I wanted to do.”
The first order of business? Throwing away all of his vaping paraphernalia, something Zohfeld’s friends also did in the wake of their friend’s scary experience.
As the real dangers of vaping, particularly to kids, come into focus with more research, Zohfeld hopes to share his experience so that it doesn’t happen to anyone else.