A Central Florida dad is warning others about the dangers of vaping after his family’s ordeal.
Michael Dougherty said when his 20-year-old son Jimmy first began to get sick in September, he thought his son just wasn’t feeling well.
“We thought he was a little under the weather,” Dougherty said. “Had a cold or flu.”
When the symptoms didn’t cease, Dougherty said he took Jimmy to the hospital for further evaluation. He said doctors told him it was a case of pneumonia, although slightly different.
“Pneumonia typically sits low in the lungs. This was very diffused all over.”
Dougherty said he thought it could have something to do with vaping, as Jimmy has been smoking since the age of 16.
Jimmy later ended up in the intensive care unit under an induced coma while he had a ventilator breathing for him.
“Nothing can prepare you for something like that,” Dougherty said.
Jimmy eventually recovered and made it out of the hospital, but that isn’t stopping his father’s message to others.
“It’s like playing Russian roulette and you don’t want to be a statistic,” Dougherty warned. “I wish we weren’t part of the statistic.”
The Centers for Disease Control is still trying to understand the link between vaping and the illnesses.
Doctors said in each case, the patients suffer from shortness of breath and inflammation of the lungs, leading to the need for a breathing tube.
According to the Florida Department of Health, one person in Florida has died from vaping, while 68 others have become sick.
Christopher Boyce & Ashley EDLUND/ABC News