A bomb pen exploded in the face of a 17-year-old Nevada boy, breaking his jaw and requiring multiple surgeries to repair the damage, according to a case report in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The 2018 incident underscores a little-known risk of electronic cigarettes – appliances can blow up unexpectedly, causing burns and serious damage to the face.
A great power
"It was him [using] this pen was blown up on his face as it was [using] this one, "said one of the doctors who faced him, Katie Russell, pediatrician at Utah University in Salt Lake City.
The explosion of the electronic cigarette was strong enough to break the bones and break the teeth.
"He broke down his jaw, which takes a lot of strength," Russell said. Doctors had to place a two-inch plate in his lower jaw to stabilize the fracture.
"His jaw was wired for about six weeks," he said. "He could only eat soft food for six weeks until he was cured, and then he had to go back and do another business to remove these cables."
Although the boy has fully recovered from his injuries, he still has three or four missing teeth because he is lacking insurance coverage to afford to replace them, Russell said.
"He still lacks all these teeth, but he hopes to make it this summer," he added.
Serious explosion injuries
From 2009 to 2016, there were 195 documented incidents of fire and explosion involving electronic cigarettes, according to the USFA Fire Brigade (USFA).
The incidents resulted in 133 injuries – 38 severe enough to justify hospitalization, says USFA.
In October 2016, Doctors at the Washington Medical Center Medical Center in Seattle reported treatment of 15 patients with e-cigarette episode injuries within nine months, according to a letter published New England Journal of Medicine.
Injuries included flaming burns, chemical burns, and burst injuries to the face, hands, thighs or groin, according to Seattle doctors.
Dr Hamad Husainy, a staff doctor at Helen Keller Hospital in Florence, Alabama, said, "It is not that rare that we are looking at this phenomenon, which is a potential problem, and as things get more and more popular, it is likely that it will become more widespread. "
Husainy said his hospital had seen two of these incidents one week ago two years ago, with electronic cigarette bursts causing burns and breaking the bones of the face.
No one is sure what causes e-cigarette bursts, according to the US Food and Drug Administration.
"I can not tell you why it exploded," Russell said of the adolescent who followed. "He said he was fair [using] It's like normal and just exploded. "
Some data suggest that lithium-ion batteries that supply the devices may be a mistake, FDA notes.
To prevent electronic cigarette bursts, the FDA recommends users:
- Buy devices with waterproof security features such as ventilation holes and overload protection.
- Replace the e-cigarette batteries if they are damaged or found.
- Keep loose batteries in a pouch to avoid contact with coins, keys or other metal objects in your pocket.
- Always charge a device with the charger that comes with the device, never to a device intended for phones or tablets.
- Do not charge a sleeping device during the night or leave unloading unattended.
According to Gregory Conley, chairman of the American Vaping Association, "The vast majority of devices on the market carry the same fire risk as other products using lithium-ion batteries, such as mobile phones and laptops."
"Adults who want to use these products to quit smoking should not be discouraged by rare events like this, especially because most or all of the injury-related incidents here include advanced engineering devices that probably represent less than 1% of US sales today. "
Modular mechanical devices contain no safety components, such as automatic shutdown, Conley said. If a battery is mechanically overcharged and the device does not have enough air holes to allow it to vaporize, there is a risk of explosion, he explained.
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