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First Greensboro vaping death reported at Cone Health

Twelve people nationwide have died from vaping-related illnesses, according to the CDC.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Cone Health officials confirm someone has died from a vape-related death in Greensboro. Cone Health says the patient died yesterday. 

Although the person died at a Greensboro hospital, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) said the patient was a Virginia resident. The department sent the following statement to WFMY News 2's Jessica Winters: 

"DHHS is aware of reports of a death at Moses Cone Hospital of a Virginia resident. Our Division of Public Health is coordinating with the Virginia Department of Health, and Virginia DOH will determine if this case meets the CDC vaping investigation case classification."

The Department of Health said no North Carolina residents have died as a result of vaping. There are no other details available about the person or their circumstances due to privacy laws. 

Dr. Murali Ramaswamy, Director of the Interstitial Lung Disease Program for LeBauer Health Care at Cone Health, said this was a preventable tragedy. 

"This is really tragic and we are still trying to understand why patients are dying from vaping," Dr. Ramaswamy said. 

Dr. Ramaswamy has treated 4 of the 8 patients admitted to Cone Health for vaping-related lung issues since August.

"This is really because the lungs are severely inflamed, we call this Acute Lung Injury or ARDS, Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome, that’s really how they die from it."

Within the past month, a total of 10 hospitalizations related to vaping were reported at two Triad hospitals - 8 at Cone Health and 2 at Wake Forest Baptist Health. Doctors at Wake Forest Baptist Health say the two patients there are in ICU. 

Dr. Ramaswamy said vaping research is not black and white because there are so many factors at play. 

"What the CDC is reporting and what we’re seeing is a number of patients are expressing they’ve used THC or marijuana vape, some of them have said they purchased it on the black market," Dr. Ramaswamy said. "Whether that in itself played a role, or it's something about the marijuana that’s playing a role, or other chemicals in the vape playing a role, we do not know."

According to the CDC, twelve people nationwide have died due to vaping. None of those deaths have been reported in North Carolina, until Thursday. 

We're working to find out if the death reported at Cone Health is also the first vaping death in the state. CDC says it will update its site with the latest information on vaping deaths.


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