A 20-year-old college athlete may lose one of his lungs after being hospitalized for respiratory his family blames on vaping.
Walker McKnight had just started his freshman year on a cheerleading scholarship at Florida Atlantic University when he first tried JUUL.
Within months, he was addicted.
Despite being fit and athletic, McKnight’s family says his health began deteriorating until he was hospitalized in March after contracting ‘severe pneumonia’ and deadly adenovirus, reported CBS News.
He was discharged earlier this month, but is back in the hospital after struggling to breathe, and doctors say they are considering removing his left lung.
Walker McKnight, 20 , from Orlando, Florida, became addicted to JUUL during his freshman year at Florida Atlantic University. Pictured: McKnight in the hospital
McKnight started experiencing flu-like symptoms and sinus pressure earlier this year. His family took him to the hospital in March after he began vomiting and developed a high fever. Pictured: McKnight, left, and right, with his family
Earlier this year, McKnight began experiencing flu-like symptoms and sinus pressure, so he assumed he had a mild infection.
His father said he went to a hospital near his university in Boca Raton, where doctors sent him home with antibiotics and steroids, reported CBS News.
However, days later, he began vomiting and developed a high fever and chills.
McKnight drove to his parents’ home in Orlando, and his parents took him to AdventHealth hospital.
According to CBS News, he was immediately admitted to the ICU and hooked up to an Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) machine.
The machine pumps and oxygenates a patient’s blood outside the body, which allows the heart and lungs to rest.
McKnight was diagnosed with severe pneumonia and adenovirus, which usually causes only a mild illness.
His family says that because his health has gradually declined – which they attribute to his vaping habit – he wasn’t able to fight off the infection.
‘If his lungs had been in clean…good health, without this moister from the vaping, they would’ve fought off this adenovirus,’ his father said. ‘He would not have gone through what he went through.’
McKnight was discharged after five months, but his father says his son is back in the hospital after he struggled to breathe on his own.
McKnight was admitted to the ICU and diagnosed with ‘severe pneumonia’ and adenovirus. Pictured: McKnight in the hospital with family
He recovered and was discharged after five months. McKnight was readmitted this month, and doctors are considering removing his left lung. Pictured, left and right: McKnight with his father, and right
‘They are looking to remove his left lung now,’ he told CBS News. ‘His left lung is completely demolished.’
The family says is hopeful he will recover and urge others who are current vapers to quit now.
‘I wouldn’t wish this on anyone,’ McKnight’s father said. ‘[Vaping] turned our family inside out and upside down.’
His family has started a GoFundMe page to help cover the cost of his medical expenses. As of Thursday afternoon, more than $39,000 has been raised out of an initial $35,000 goal.
It comes right not long after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention revealed it is investigating nearly 200 cases of severe lung illness in 22 states believed to be linked to vaping.
The reported cases occurred between June 28 and August 20.
No single vaping product or compound has been linked to all of the cases, and officials said it’s not clear if there’s a common cause.