Man who only vaped for a month rushed to hospital with collapsed lung
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A man who only vaped for just a month was rushed to hospital with a collapsed lung.
Dad-to-be Alex Gittins, 31, started vaping in April, inhaling two 600-puff e-cigarettes a week in an attempt to quit smoking.
However, the roofer from Bishop Auckland, County Durham, grew concerned when he noticed a pain in his right-hand side after taking a puff of his vape on the morning of the 25th May.
"I started vaping to quit smoking in April,” he said.
"I took a drag of a vape when I was at work and started getting a stitch - it felt like how you feel when you walk too much. Every time I started breathing in it hurt.
Gittins noticed that breathing-in suddenly felt very painful. As the pain travelled to his left side and up towards his chest over the next hour-and-a-half, Alex went to Darlington Memorial Hospital in County Durham fearing he was having a heart attack.
Doctors gave him an X-Ray and told him that his right lung had ‘no air in it whatsoever’ after it collapsed entirely due to a condition called pneumothorax.
A tube was inserted into his ribcage to push out the trapped air and built-up fluid that was slowly crushing his lungs and chest.
"I went up to the receptionist [at Darlington Memorial Hospital] and showed her that I was going grey and literally couldn't breathe.
"The doctor took me to an X-Ray room and I got a bit panicked. Then some doctors came in and they said they'd have to put a chest tube in because my lung had collapsed.
"My right lung just wasn't there anymore. It had no air in it whatsoever.
"I was scared. I'd just texted my partner saying that I was going to hospital because I had a few pains in my chest but there was nothing to worry about.
However, when the lung failed to heal naturally, he was transferred to The James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough, on 1 June for surgery.
The gruelling operation lasted two hours and doctors cut out a portion of the afflicted organ before stapling it back together and using a white powder to 'glue' the lung to Alex's chest wall to prevent it from collapsing again.
Reflecting on his lung collapsing, Gittins said: "It crossed my mind that I could die. I'm someone who doesn't really go to the doctor, I just get on with it.
"Then a few days later when they explained everything, I realised that I [really] could have died.
"They cut some of my lung out, and stapled it back together. Then they squirted this white powder into my lung which glued it into my chest so it wouldn't collapse again.”
Gittins is now raising awareness about the dangers of vaping. He is still adjusting to his newly glued lung, and admits that he now finds himself struggling with breathlessness after walking five minutes.
He said doctors told him that he should be back to normal six to eight weeks after the operation, however there is still a 2 percent chance that the lung could collapse again.
"The surgeons have told me that I can't smoke again. I regret ever smoking, and I definitely regret buying vapes.
"I think people should stop vaping, but people don't listen unless it happens to someone close to home.