A 22-year-old North Dakota man who has vaped since his teens has started to make a “miracle” recovery from parainfluenza after his family was told he had a one per cent chance of survival.
Jackson Allard was on life support for 70 days after he went to the emergency room for a stomach ache in October but ended up being admitted to the hospital for low oxygen levels, according to Valley News Live, citing a GoFundMe page set up for Mr Allard and his family.
Mr Allard was tested and found positive for Influenza 4 and double pneumonia. He was eventually placed on a life support machine and transferred to the University of Minnesota, according to the fundraising page.
Doreen Hurlburt said her grandson had been using e-cigarettes since he was around 16 or 17 but had recently started to increase the amount he vaped.
“He had no idea how bad it was for him,” she said, according to NBC News. “The day before he was intubated, he said, ‘I had no idea I could get this sick’.”
While scientists and doctors are not clear on the link between vaping and lung issues, as it is a relatively new phenomenon, doctors suspected that Mr Allard’s use of vapes may have prevented him from recovering from the initial viral infection, the outlet said.
Most e-cigarettes contain nicotine, which can be highly addictive, but the aerosol can contain substances that reach deep into the lungs, according to the CDC, which also says additional research would help better the understand the long-term health effects.
“As he was not getting better, they’re like, ‘Well, he vaped, and vaping hurts your lungs,’” Ms Hulburt told NBC.
Doctors had to replace parts of his life support machine twice due to blood clots forming, NBC reported. At one point, his heart stopped beating and had to be resuscitated, the fundraiser said.
“In several family meetings, the [Surgical Intensive Care Unit] team said there was a one per cent chance of survival,” Jaime Foertsch, Mr Allard’s mother, said in an email to NBC. “We never gave up and kept advocating for Jackson.”
“I thought for sure we were going to lose him, he’s not going to survive this. But in my mind, I kept picturing him coming home,” his grandmother told KVLY-TV.
Mr Allard’s condition eventually improved, and he had surgery for a double lung transplant in early January and was later able to come off the life support machine after being on it for 70 days.
“We were told he was the longest patient they have had there on ECMO,” Ms Hurlburt wrote on the fundraiser. “Jackson, of course, making records seems fitting.”
He is now able to get out of bed and walk around five feet with a walker and still needs to re-learn how to talk, but he is able to communicate, NBC reported.
“The nurses are calling him a legend and a miracle,” Ms Foertsch said. “He is getting stronger every day and hopes he will be moved to rehab soon.”
Mr Allard has to stay in Minneapolis for at least six more months for check-ups, will not be able to smoke or drink alcohol again, and will eventually need another transplant later on in life.