VAPE-RELATED LUNG INJURY. Department of Health-7 regional director Dr. Jaime Bernadas answers questions from the media during a press conference in his office in Cebu City on Tuesday (Nov. 19, 2019). Bernadas reported a 16-year-old female patient from Consolacion, Cebu as the first vape-related lung injury case in Central Visayas. (PNA photo by Fe Marie Dumaboc)

CEBU CITY – The Department of Health (DOH) in Region 7 (Central Visayas) is closely monitoring a 16-year-old girl, who is reported to be the first victim of e-cigarette or vape-associated lung injury (EVALI) case in the region.

Dr. Jaime Bernadas, regional director of DOH-7, said surveillance personnel from his office are doing further examinations to support the findings of a private pediatric pulmonologist who reported a female patient suffering from lung injury due to vaping.

He said the DOH-7 did not have any idea about the case until their central office informed them about it last week, as the private physician directly reported the case to Manila.

“We were called by the central office to follow up the patient who is supposed to go to the attending physician today. So, there were initial findings that were submitted by the attending physician to the central office in particular because the physician wrote (to them) directly,” he said in a press conference on Tuesday.

As reported by the private physician, the female patient from Consolacion, Cebu smoked both the traditional combustible cigarette and electronic cigarette known as vape, he said.

Bernadas said the patient who was admitted at the Mendero Medical Center in the town of Consolacion initially showed difficulty in breathing.

Upon further evaluation by the attending physician, he said the patient met the case criteria for EVALI based on the guidelines of the US Centers for Disease Control.

After several dosages of medications, however, the patient was reportedly discharged from the hospital.

“As per initial report by the physician, this is attributed to e-cigarette use. We will be trying to do further examinations,” Bernadas said, adding that they based their findings on the diagnosis from the hospital records.

The regional director of DOH-7 warned smokers about the effects of “vaping”.

He said he supported the move of the Food and Drug Administration to regulate the sale of vape or e-cigarette in the market.

“Because they are still smoke. Second, it has chemical components. If there are chemical components, there are tendencies for lung injury irritation, allergies if you have (it), chemical intoxication if you have (it),” he said.

He urged parents not to allow their children, especially minors, to use vape and e-cigarettes. (PNA)