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National

Illinois patient’s death may be first in US tied to vaping

CHICAGO (AP) — Health officials said Friday that an Illinois patient who contracted a serious lung disease after vaping has died and that they consider it the first death in the United States linked to the smoking alternative that has become popular with teens and young adults.

The Illinois Department of Public Health the adult patient was hospitalized after falling ill following vaping, though it didn’t give other information about the person, including the patient’s name, age, hometown or date of death.

The state received the report of the death Thursday, said Dr. Jennifer Layden, the Illinois agency’s chief medical officer.

Officials with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday that 193 people in 22 states have contracted severe respiratory illnesses after vaping. However, they said a clear-cut common cause of the illnesses hasn’t been identified and that they are being called “potential cases” that are still under investigation.

All of the sickened have been teens or adults who had used an electronic cigarette or some other kind of vaping device. Doctors say the illnesses resemble an inhalation injury, with the lungs apparently reacting to a caustic substance. So far, infectious diseases have been ruled out.

Politicians seek answers on veteran’s death at VA hospital

CLARKSBURG, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia politicians are calling for answers after a Vietnam veteran’s death at a VA hospital was ruled a homicide.

U.S. Sens. Joe Manchin and Shelley Moore Capito vowed Friday to investigate after a news report on the death of retired Army Sgt. Felix Kirk McDermott at the Louis A. Johnson VA Medical Center in Clarksburg, West Virginia.

A lawyer for McDermott’s estate provided The Associated Press with a legal document sent to the VA claiming the 82-year-old was wrongly injected with a fatal dose of insulin in April 2018. It also contains an autopsy report from the Armed Forces Medical Examiner that rules the death a homicide.

Manchin also questioned the hospital’s treatment of other patients.