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Texas Teen Says Vaping Nearly Killed Him Amid New CDC Probe

The CDC says it's looking at 94 cases of severe lung illnesses linked to vaping from across the country reported between June and August

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    North Texas Teen Says Vaping Nearly Killed Him

    Just a few days after the CDC announced it would investigate nearly 100 cases of severe lung illness linked with vaping, a Weatherford teen is sharing his story. (Published Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2019)

    Just a few days after the CDC announced it would investigate nearly 100 cases of severe lung illness linked with vaping, a Weatherford, Texas, teen has come forward with his story of surviving a vaping-related brush with death. 

    On July 26, Tryston Zohfeld was admitted to Cook Children's Medical Center with what looked to be pneumonia.

    A couple of days before, he'd experienced fatigue, chills, shortness of breath and vomiting.

    "It kind of felt like my whole body was flexing the whole time and shaking, and I started getting cramps in my stomach and legs because I was shaking so bad," Tryston said.

    By the time he arrived at Cook's in an ambulance, the teen was rapidly declining.

    "They did the X-ray Sunday morning and it was completely cloudy all the way through the lungs. And they had cranked his oxygen up to 100, which is as high as it can go. And short of intubating him, they had the highest type of ventilator they could use and he still wasn't getting enough oxygen," said Tryston's dad Matt Zohfeld.

    Within 48 hours of arriving, Tryston couldn't breathe on his own.

    Doctors tested him for every infection and virus they thought he'd contracted, but it wasn't until his cousin arrived with Tryston's vaping paraphernalia that they found the cause.

    Pediatric Pulmonologist Karen Schultze calls the increase in cases of vaping related lung illness an explosion.

    In the last month, she's treated Tryston and another teen. Meanwhile, the CDC says it's looking at 94 cases from across the country reported between June and August.

    "No one has been able to establish what type of e-cigarette or what flavor or what brand or put any one thing together that has led to this increase," Schultze said.

    She says Tryston's lungs were so irritated they'd formed scar tissue.

    Thankfully, the 17-year-old was able to recover. But now down 30 pounds with a lot less muscle mass, he's still got a long road to full recovery.

    He's sworn to never pick up an e-cigarette again, and hopes others will learn from his brush with death.

    "We don't know the long-term effects. We really only know the short-term effects. If the short-term effects are this bad, what good could come out of it?" said Tryston.

    He says several friends have already pledged to quit after his experience. He hopes those who don't will at least spend more time educating themselves on the potential risks.