Mother shares son's near-death experience possibly linked to vaping

A local high school student is warning others not to vape. His mom says his vaping habit almost cost him his life.

"I lost my husband when my son was one. He's my whole world and I couldn't lose him," said Geri Sullivan.

Life has changed drastically for 17-year-old son, Eddie.

"He still gets winded walking up the steps. His lungs will not be fully developed until October," she said.

Eddie was once an offensive lineman for the Bonner-Prendie football team but Geri says he's entering his senior year still recovering from a near-death experience.

"He's missing his whole senior football season at his high school. He feels like he can't really do a whole lot of exercise," she said.

It all began last July when Eddie had a fever for several days then severe stomach pains. Emergency room doctors said he had pneumonia. He went home with medication.

"The next day he couldn't breathe, it was very difficult, sweating profusely and complaining that he felt like only one lung was working," said Geri.

This time they went to A.I. Dupont in Delaware where Eddie was admitted into the pediatric intensive care unit for 14 days. It wasn't until doctors talked to him alone about teen stuff that Geri says they determined what was happening.

"He told the doctors that he had done vaping before. He said it had been a few months since he had picked one up but he had done it extensively for about a year. That was when they determined it that was they called it pneumonitis as a result of vaping," said Geri. “They showed me his X-rays. It just looked like all these cloudiness in his lungs." 

Geri says she admits she was naive in the past when she had found vaping pods or Juul e-cigarettes in his pocket in the laundry.

"He would try to say oh everybody is doing it and they're not dangerous, they're mango flavored, they're fruity flavored and I think that's part of the appeal that the packaging is geared to adolescents."  She’s sharing their story to help save other young people.

"If his story will help save just one life it's totally worth it," said Geri.

She adds that he was one step away from being put into a medically induced coma. He’s recovering with antibiotics, steroids and he can’t be around second-hand smoke.