A mum has advised of “nightmare come true” as she watched her 12-year-old daughter in an induced coma in hospital after vaping.
Mary Griffin, from Belfast, stated how her daughter Sarah was rushed to hospital after struggling to breathe after which was discovered to have one in every of her lungs badly injured and the opposite was affected by her bronchial asthma.
“It was a Sunday night, Sarah was getting ready for bed and said she didn’t feel great. She started coughing but because Sarah has asthma, we put that down to the change in weather as that has been a trigger for Sarah’s asthma before,” stated Mary. “Her cough was no different from any other time and she used her inhaler and nebuliser throughout the Sunday night into Monday morning.”
“That morning I was taking my other two children to school when Sarah rang and said, ‘Come back mummy, I don’t feel well, I’m afraid’. I got home, gave Sarah her inhaler and nebuliser again and she seemed to settle. A while later I popped out to the shop quickly and Sarah rang again, this time completely out of breath, barely able to string a sentence together, saying, ‘I need a doctor or to go to hospital’.”
“Her dad immediately took her to the Royal Victoria Hospital. The nurse did Sarah’s vitals, and her oxygen levels were very low. The next thing I knew, Sarah’s dad phoned me to say Sarah was in Resus. I went to the hospital, and Sarah was just in a blind panic, she was terrified. She was on oxygen and was linked up to all sorts of machines. There were medical staff all around her assessing her and they said she needed to go to ICU as she was deteriorating very quickly.”
Chatting with BelfastLive, Mary continued: “The doctor showed me an X-ray of Sarah’s lungs and explained one had been badly injured. The other was therefore working overtime and aggravating her asthma. Sarah also had an infection, so everything combined had a massive impact on her body, extremely quickly.”
“When we got to ICU the team worked on Sarah for four and a half hours before having to put her into an induced coma. There were tubes, wires, and machines everywhere – it was heartbreaking to see her like that. As her mum I just felt so helpless- it was a nightmare come true. Sarah has an older brother and two younger siblings and trying to explain to them what was happening was awful.
“They had been asking if she was going to die, and I used to be saying, ‘After all not’, however in my thoughts I used to be terrified that was an actual risk. I needed to try to maintain it collectively for them, however I used to be out of my thoughts with fear. I by no means thought one thing like this might occur to us, you by no means do.”
The medical team worked on Sarah around the clock. “Sarah had machines respiration for her, doing every thing for her, and she or he was very unstable,” said Mary. “It was actually onerous for the medical doctors and nurses to discover a steadiness for Sarah- in the event that they bought her oxygen ranges sorted, her blood pressure would go down, or in the event that they bought one thing else sorted, one other one in every of her vitals would go within the unsuitable path.”
“It felt like one step ahead, two steps backwards and that went on for just a few days. At first, we actually did not assume Sarah would make it. The primary time the staff tried to deliver Sarah out of the induced coma she was so agitated the medical doctors determined it was too early and so they must induce her once more.
“I had to help and hold Sarah’s hands to try and settle her so the doctors could do what they needed to do. I was frightened, and it was horrible to have to see Sarah so scared. They then tried to bring Sarah out of the induced coma again the next day and started removing tubes, reducing her sedation, taking her off the ventilator and slowly brought her back round.
“At that stage I had some hope Sarah can be okay, however I used to be making ready myself that she could be in hospital for weeks and even months. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case and Sarah bought house after just a few days. She is a fighter and was completely superb by means of every thing.”
With Sarah stabilised the doctors were able to explain to Mary what had happened and how at risk her daughter had been. Mary said: “The medical doctors defined that if Sarah hadn’t been vaping, she would have been in a greater place to combat off the an infection. Vaping had left her lungs very weak. The medical doctors stated if Sarah had of bought to hospital any later the end result would have been totally completely different. That’s one thing I can not even take into consideration.”
Thankfully Sarah is now recovering at home but the effects of what happened to her will unfortunately be long-term. Mary says it was a traumatising experience for both of them: “The day she went to hospital Sarah thought she can be admitted, be placed on a nebuliser for some time after which go house once more. For her to finish up in ICU was a terrifying expertise and she or he’s nonetheless making an attempt to make sense of all of it.
“For the rest of her life Sarah will be classed as a high-risk patient if she is admitted to hospital because of the effect this has had on her physically. This isn’t a case of a hospital stay and that’s it over with. Sarah was discharged with steroids, new inhalers, and a new Personal Asthma Action Plan to help manage her asthma.
“She has additionally been transferred to the care of the Tough to Management Bronchial asthma Clinic at The Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Youngsters, when beforehand her bronchial asthma was nicely managed, and we simply went to the GP about it. Sarah has been left very torpid. She is often filled with vitality, continually speaking and on the go however she continues to be recovering and is not again to her typical self but.
“The mental impact has been as big as the physical impact. She has been through such a trauma. She still has a long road ahead of her, but we are just so grateful to have her back home with us.”
Fidelma Carter, Head of Public Well being at NICHS, stated: “Many people may think there is little risk associated with regular vaping. The biggest misunderstanding about vapes is that they are harmless compared to cigarettes. This is not true, and this message needs to change to prevent more young people from taking up and getting addicted to vaping because they think they are risk free.
“The long-term well being implications are unknown – simply as they as soon as had been with tobacco. We’ve got launched our vaping consciousness marketing campaign in response to the misunderstandings across the potential well being dangers related to vaping and the large improve within the variety of youngsters utilizing vapes.”
“Vapes are designed to ship vaporised liquids into your lungs while you breathe in. This vapourised liquid is not water and it virtually all the time incorporates nicotine, flavours and both/or a mix of humectants akin to propylene glycol, vegetable glycerine or glycerol.
“Many flavours and humectants have been approved in the UK for oral ingestion but not for inhalation. Therefore, the health risk is not well known, when consumed in this manner. Vapes may also contain other harmful chemicals that aren’t listed on the pack.”
She added: “There is also emerging evidence and increasing concerns about the impact of vaping on our lungs, hearts and blood vessels which could lead to future cardiovascular and respiratory illness.
“Folks might go on to develop severe well being situations on account of their vaping, which might additionally exacerbate present situations like bronchial asthma.
“We need to cull vaping until we have more research knowledge on the long-term health implications. Our stance on vaping is that we recommend avoiding the use of vapes other than in a short-term attempt to quit smoking and would urge people, if you don’t smoke, don’t vape.
“Because of the rising considerations about vaping, we’re additionally campaigning to extend the age of sale for vapes, in addition to cigarettes, to 21 fairly than 18 which is at the moment the case. We’re additionally very involved about the place younger individuals are getting their vapes from as it’s at the moment unlawful to promote vapes to folks below 18 years outdated. We have to improve the fines for individuals who do”.
Speaking of her help for Northern Eire Chest Coronary heart & Stroke’s new vaping consciousness marketing campaign Mary stated: “What Sarah has experienced could easily happen to other young people, and we don’t want that which is why we’re sharing our story and supporting NICHS’s vaping campaign.
“I’ve seen kids as younger as seven and eight years outdated vaping which is simply horrendous. Sarah hadn’t been vaping closely however that, coupled together with her bronchial asthma was such a harmful mixture. Younger individuals are drawn to the intense colors and flavours of vapes- they may odor and style candy, however folks have to know concerning the potential risks related to them.”
“We would like different younger folks to see the potential affect vaping can have as it would hopefully make them assume twice about doing it. The photographs of Sarah in ICU are onerous to take a look at, however we predict it is vital younger folks see these and get a greater understanding of the attainable risks. Sarah says that if sharing her story helps save one other younger particular person and their household going by means of the identical factor now we have then it is value doing.”