WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- A Maryland teenager shared her journey in her battle against EVALI on social media hoping that others will read and learn from her story.
- Claire Chung, 19, wrote in her post that prior to her X-rays, she had a fever of 104 degrees that lasted for three weeks without symptoms.
- Her X-ray and CT scans later revealed that her lungs were badly inflamed and lung tissues were badly damaged by vaping.
When Claire Chung of Maryland shared on Instagram disturbing images of her battle with EVALI (e-cigarette and vaping product use associated lung injury), little did she know that her story would attract 250,000 likes and hundreds of comments.
Chung’s first post on December 29 was of her in a hospital bed at Gaithersburg Medical Center along with a text where she recounted to readers that prior to her chest X-rays, she endured a 104- degree fever for three weeks without any symptoms.
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In regards to my last post…. These are my chest CT scans in comparison to how normal, healthy scans should look. My bronchial tubes are EXTREMELY inflamed beyond belief and all the white haziness (which should be black and clear on a healthy scan) is damaged tissue. When the pulmonologist came to me with the results, he was in complete shock. He genuinely had no reaction other than “wow.” This is a lung specialist who looks at diseased scans everyday for a living telling a NINETEEN year old girl that he’s never seen anything like this before. Because there is no research on juuls/carts/vapes, they could see all this damage but could not treat it. The doctors couldn’t tell whether this was blood, fluid, bacteria, a virus, inflammation, etc. Basically, the treatment for some would kill me if it was another. I could hear the tension and apprehension in every one of my doctors voices of not knowing whether or not they could help me or if I was going to live or die. The scariest part is that even with the extent of the damage, I never once felt any of it. I never experienced any shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, chest pain, or ANY signs respiratory distress or issues. It is truly a SILENT killer. Just because you can’t feel it doesn’t mean it’s not happening. You don’t understand regret until your doctors are staring you in the face telling you they don’t know if they can save your life, knowing in your head that you willingly brought it upon yourself despite countless warnings to stop.
“I never experienced any shortness of breath, coughing, wheezing, chest pain, or ANY signs respiratory distress or issues,” she wrote. Initially, her doctors thought she had pneumonia. But based on her scans and tests like bronchoscopy, doctors realized that there was no infection and that her lung tissue damage was solely caused by using juuls, vapes and oil cartridges.
A second post followed on Monday showed Chung’s X-rays and CT scan results. “Healthy lungs on a scan should be black. My 19-year-old lungs were completely hazy and white in the scans, entirely covering both lungs,” wrote Chung. Her scans, which showed serious inflammation and significant loss of lung function, were quite similar to those of another vaping teen who received a double lung transplant in November. Just like that teen’s doctors, Chung’s doctors were equally stunned of the results.
“He genuinely had no reaction other than ‘wow.’ This is a lung specialist who looks at diseased scans every day for a living telling a NINETEEN year old girl that he’s never seen anything like this before,” Chung recalled.
Chung continued saying that it felt scary to hear doctors say that her situation may be life-threatening given the extent and speed of progress of the damage. Now recovering, the teen adds that although she was repeatedly told to quit, she admits that she regrets not stopping sooner.
Besides positive feedbacks, Chung’s posts have also generated criticisms from individuals who believe that Juul is not at fault for the severe lung injuries that had caused 57 deaths as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, though most of the vaping crisis had been traced to black-market THC vaping products, a new Harvard University Medical Center study has just detected traces of microbial toxins in Juul pods, which can cause acute long-term lung damage.
Although it’s not yet confirmed whether Juul is solely responsible for Chung’s lung damage, she hopes her posts will warn people to quit or stay away from vaping. Juul had not yet publicly responded to Yahoo Lifestyle’s request for comment.