McKinney hospitals address concerns as cases of vaping-related illnesses rise in North Texas

North Texas ranks No. 1 in Texas for vaping-associated severe lung disease cases this year, according to officials.
North Texas ranks No. 1 in Texas for vaping-associated severe lung disease cases this year, according to officials.

North Texas ranks No. 1 in Texas for vaping-associated severe lung disease cases this year, according to officials.

North Texas ranks No. 1 among eight regions in Texas for vaping-associated severe lung disease cases in 2019, according to state health data.

As of Nov. 26, 104 cases of vaping-associated severe lung disease had been reported in North Texas—a little more than half of the total cases statewide, according to the Texas Department of State Health and Human Services.

McKinney hospitals are among those across the state that are addressing vaping concerns.


Developing concerns

The long-term effects of vaping are not fully known, said Dr. Jaya Kumar, chief medical officer at Medical City McKinney. Vaping-related illnesses have only recently become a concern as people began experimenting with vapes and adding unsafe ingredients, she said.


THC, the high-inducing compound in marijuana, is present in most cartridges used by patients with vaping-related lung injuries and tested by the FDA, according to the CDC. The latest national and state findings suggest cartridges with THC, particularly from off the street, are linked to most lung injury cases and have played a “major” role in the outbreak, the CDC reports.

“It gives you the high,” said Dr. Rashid Rahman, a pulmonologist for Medical City McKinney. “People want to add different things to an already manufactured liquid. And that’s where the problem is.”

Patients suffering from a vaping-related lung injury come to the hospital with nonspecific symptoms, said Dr. Elizabeth Fagan, director of the emergency medical department at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center—McKinney. These can include shortness of breath, a nonproductive cough and sharp pains in the chest, she said.


If a vaping-related illness is not diagnosed and treated properly, the illness can become more serious, Fagan said.

Cigarette cessation

According to the CDC, e-cigarettes can contain harmful substances, such as diacetyl, a chemical linked to serious lung disease; volatile organic compounds; cancer-causing chemicals; and heavy metals.


But advocates for safe vaping products cite reports from other public health organizations that claim e-cigarettes are a safe harm-reduction tool for cigarette smokers.

Greg Conley, president of the East Coast-based American Vaping Association, said e-cigarettes have acted as a smoking cessation device for millions of people.

“For a smoker—someone who is inhaling 4,000 chemicals into their lungs multiple times a day—switching to vaping is a much healthier choice,” he said.


Dr. Rahman said he has recommended e-cigarettes to his patients to help them successfully stop smoking. However, he said he recommends pure nicotinic e-cigarettes and not any product that has THC or other ingredients in it.

Claims of media hysteria

Members of pro-vaping groups have criticized the media for what they perceive as stoking hysteria over the dangers of e-cigarettes. In doing so, the groups said, the media could be driving former smokers back to traditional cigarettes.

“Patients are coming to me now that are cigarette smokers. And I talk about smoking cessation methods and I talk about electronic cigarettes, and immediately, they go, ‘Oh no, vaping? I can’t do vaping.’ And they don’t even realize they’re doing worse than that right now,” Rahman said.

But both Rahman and Kumar said it is important to raise awareness about the possible dangers of vaping.


“Do not add anything from friends [or] family, like THC or CBD oil—anything on the street,” Kumar said. “Do not mix anything with it if you really have to vape. But to be 100% safe,” she said, “do not vape at all.”

Additional reporting by Miranda Jaimes
SHARE THIS STORY
By Olivia Lueckemeyer

Olivia Lueckemeyer graduated in 2013 from Loyola University New Orleans with a degree in journalism. She joined Community Impact Newspaper in October 2016 as reporter for the Southwest Austin edition before her promotion to editor in March 2017. In July 2018 she returned home to the Dallas area and became editor of the Richardson edition.


MOST RECENT

McKinney City Council approved an ordinance placing a recall election for La'Shadion Shemwell on the May 2 general election ballot. (Emily Davis/Community Impact Newspaper)
Voters to decide if McKinney City Council member stays in office

McKinney voters will decide in May whether City Council member La’Shadion Shemwell will remain in his District 1 seat or be recalled.

Orangetheory Fitness will open a new location in McKinney during the spring. (Courtesy Orangetheory Fitness)
Orangetheory Fitness to open new location in McKinney

Orangetheory Fitness will open a new location in McKinney during the spring.

(Courtesy Venue at Lady Butterbug)
New event venue open near downtown McKinney

Venue at Lady Butterbug opened Dec. 1 at 1701 N. Waddill St., McKinney.

Row House expects to open in February on Eldorado Parkway in McKinney. (courtesy Row House)
Row House looks to open McKinney location in February

Row House expects to open in February at 7901 Eldorado Parkway, Ste. 145, McKinney.

A forum takes place for 2018 primary candidates. This year's forum is open to the public and includes races that affect Collin County at the regional, state and national level in the March 3 primary election. (Courtesy League of Women Voters of Collin County)
Collin County primary candidates to meet for forum at Collin College

Candidates for Collin County, Texas and U.S. Representative seats will meet for a forum Jan. 25 at Collin College.

Serendipity Labs will open in McKinney's new Hub 121 mixed-use development. (Photo courtesy Yale Gurney)
Serendipity Labs to open coworking space in McKinney's new Hub 121 development

Serendipity Labs is opening this spring at Hub 121 in McKinney.

Lone Star Pediatrics is now open in McKinney. (Courtesy Lone Star Pediatrics)
New pediatric clinic opens in McKinney

Lone Star Pediatrics opened a new pediatric practice Nov. 21.

Texas oil and gas industry could see a major slowdown in 2020

The oil and natural gas industry paid a record-setting $16.3 billion in taxes and royalties to local governments and the state in 2019, the Texas Oil and Gas Association announced Tuesday.

The McKinney Planning & Zoning Commission approved the plan for an apartment development, which will move on to McKinney City Council for discussion and consideration. (Courtesy city of McKinney)
McKinney P&Z approves zoning for apartment complex

The McKinney Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously voted Jan. 14 to rezone 12.64 acres that would allow a multifamily housing development to be built.

McKinney Wine Merchant will relocate from its current location to a new space on the southeast corner of Virginia Parkway and US 75. (Jean Ann Collins/Community Impact Newspaper)
McKinney Wine Merchant to relocate out of downtown McKinney, expand offerings

McKinney Wine Merchant will relocate in early spring from its current location to a new location at 131 S. Central Expressway, McKinney.

The Comedy Arena is planning to double the size of its current space by expanding into the second floor. (courtesy Comedy Club Arena)
The Comedy Arena doubling space in downtown McKinney, undergoing renovations

The Comedy Arena, located at 305 E. Virginia St., Ste. 104, McKinney, is looking to double its size with an upcoming renovation and expansion project.

Jiffy Lube is now open in McKinney off of US 380. (courtesy Adobe Stock)
Jiffy Lube now open in McKinney

Jiffy Lube opened Nov. 4 at 3076 W. University Dr., McKinney.

Back to top