We thought that news of the jaw-dropping Japanese drug that regrows teeth would be the wildest health story to land on our desk this month, but this newly revealed story of how Daveu Bauer, a 34-year-old American and smoker-turned-vaper had his life saved from a debilitating lung infection using a wholly unexpected bit of medical mastery.
Bauer’s lung health — which was already compromised due to a lack of flue vaccination and extended use of cigarettes before turning to vapes — quickly took a turn for the worse when flu season rolled around, creating a perfect storm that led to a savage lung infection. As summarized by Dr. Ankit Bharat, chief of thoracic surgery and director of the Canning Thoracic Institute at Northwestern Medicine:
“Everything aligns, and then you’re set up for a major disaster.”Dr. Ankit Bharat
According to CNN, doctors began by treating Bauer with an ECMO (extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, for those who like the lingo), but when this was unsuccessful at giving his heart and lungs the rest they so desperately needed, they quickly realised that a full double-lung transplant could be his only hope for survival.
Typical lung transplants take weeks to organise but, given the aggressively acute nature of Bauer’s condition, doctors had no time to wait for a donor to come forward, be evaluated, and put into action. This is why Dr. Bharat had to invent an unprecedented strategy that allowed them to operate at the necessary speed…
“Someone who is actively dying and was so sick like David, generally, will have no option of transplant, and they generally just die… We had to come up with a strategy to do something that we’ve never done before.”Dr. Ankit Bharat
After removing the severely infected lungs, doctors then faced the challenge of keeping his heart stable in the chest cavity without the cushioning that lungs usually provide. That’s where the ingenious idea to use breast implants came into play, allowing them to temporarily keep the heart in place until donor lungs arrived.
Despite the slightly whacky nature of the procedure and his critical condition prior, Bauer enjoyed a remarkably successful recovery, breathing unassisted after only a few weeks and discharged into a rehabilitation facility in September after only a few months in hospital.
A number of notable physicians, including Dr Albert Rizzo and Dr Yoshiya Toyoda have all spoken out about the innovative approach taken in this procedure, as well as dubbing the patient with the equally ingenious nickname “DD Davey”, who will remain under close medical observation for a further year.
The Unstoppable Rise And Dangers Of Vaping
According to Cross River Therapy, over 55 million people around the world now use vapes or e-cigarettes, with 1 in 20 Americans using the devices and up to 1 in 5 Americans between 18 and 30 years old.
With no signs of slowing down, this remarkable case hints at the kinds of health crises we could expect in the years to come. ‘DD Davey’ got very lucky here, but others may not have the same happy and humorous experience.