Cannabis is transforming healthcare in the United States. But at Detroit’s Henry Ford Hospital, not in the ways, you might expect. Instead, it’s the harm caused by illicit, counterfeit vaping products that are pushing the envelope, prompting doctors to perform unprecedented procedures to save lives.
On Monday, doctors at Henry Ford performed the first double-lung transplant in a patient suffering severe lung illness due to vaping. The hospital system announced that it believes its doctors are the first in the United States to perform the double-lung transplant on someone with irreparable lung damage linked to vaping. So far, the patient is remaining anonymous. But we know that he is a male who requested doctors share his story in order to warn others about the serious risks associated with unregulated vape products.
First-Ever Double-Lung Transplant Cures Irreparable Lung Damage from Vaping
Last Friday, the CDC issued a report documenting what it called a “breakthrough” in its investigation into vape-linked lung illnesses and deaths. That report identified the common vape cartridge additive vitamin E acetate as the likely primary cause behind the rash of lung illnesses that have hospitalized thousands and caused at least 40 deaths nationwide.
We don’t know exactly what vaping product landed the Detroit-area man in the hospital with irreparable lung damage. But it’s highly likely that the product was an illicit THC vape cartridge cut with vitamin E acetate. While health officials have been investigating both nicotine vaping products like e-cigarettes and cannabis vaping products, many experts believe counterfeit THC vapes are behind the majority of recent vape-associated lung disease cases.
“CDC continues to recommend that people should not use e-cigarette, or vaping, products that contain THC, particularly from informal sources like friends, or family, or in-person or online dealers,” the CDC said in a statement announcing its latest findings. Michigan lawmakers moved to ban flavored e-cigarette products in October, but a state judge blocked the ban from taking effect on October 15.
Henry Ford Doctors to Hold Press Conference on Double-Lung Transplant Success
Doctors have successfully performed double-lung transplants before. The procedure involves removing a patient’s diseased lungs and replacing them with donor lungs, one at a time, attaching them to airways and blood vessels. But the medical team at Henry Ford says theirs is the first medical system to successfully perform the transplant on a patient who irreparably damaged their lungs with vaping.
At a Tuesday press conference, Henry Ford doctors and medical staff will present photographs of the patient’s lungs and provide updates about his recovery. A bulletin announcing the press conference says that while the patient wishes to remain anonymous, “he and his family would like his medical team to share photographs and an update to warn others.”