It went from an inhaling device to an impaling device.
As if vape pens weren’t hazardous enough to one’s health, a UK teen was told he might lose his foot after it was impaled by an e-cigarette that he’d stomped on while out with pals. Photos of the gruesome injury are currently blowing up online.
[Warning: Graphic images below]
“I wasn’t thinking — I don’t know how to explain it,” Harley Bennett, 13, told Kennedy News and Media of his “painful” accidental piercing, which occurred Oct. 8 while he was hanging out with friends in his hometown of Cirencester, Gloucestershire.
The youths had reportedly discovered the electronic cigarette beneath a subway, and Bennett decided to destroy it for fun. So the youngster stood up the e-cigarette vertically on the ground and attempted to crush it like “a Coke can.”
However, the stunt went south after the four-inch vape pen pierced his $240 thick-soled trainer shoes, socks and foot like a punji stake. “I just stamped on it and it just went straight into my foot,” recalled Bennett.
Graphic photos show the e-cigarette’s red butt protruding from the sole of his foot.
A buddy subsequently called his mother, Samantha Robinson, 34, to inform her of the sole-destroying ordeal, and the panicky mom arrived at the scene and ferried her pained progeny to Cirencester Hospital.
Due to the severity of his injuries, however, Bennett had to be transferred to the emergency ward at Gloucester Royal Hospital, where he was put on a drip of antibiotics and painkillers. Subsequent X-rays revealed that the vape pen had penetrated all the way into his heel bone.
“The size and width of the puff bar went the majority of the way in and jammed into the top of the heel bone, which cracked it,” described the traumatized mother of four. “It was a clean cut of flesh gone.”
“It was really shocking. I felt sick, scared. I didn’t know what was going on,” she exclaimed.
She added that hospital workers apparently “hadn’t come into contact with anything like this before,” either.
“It must have been very shocking for them as well,” she said. “I had all the nurses asking to look at the pictures I had because they were so gobsmacked.”
Her son, however, was somehow more level-headed about the ordeal.
“Harley was actually quite calm, probably because the adrenaline kicked in and he wasn’t feeling anything,” Robinson recalled.
The boy subsequently underwent a two-hour surgery and a failed skin graft, after which he was discharged six hours later, Kennedy reported.
But Bennett was far from out of the woods: At a follow-up appointment two weeks later, the surgeon said that there was a high probability that the teen’s foot would need to be amputated because of an infection in his cracked heel bone.
“I felt terrified and sick. I was more scared for Harley and of his reaction and how he was being than of my own,” recounted the distraught Brit after hearing the bad news. “Seeing how scared he was — and he wasn’t sleeping — [meant that] it was more about trying to concentrate on how he was feeling.”
Bennett also said that being told he might lose his foot “was very, very stressful,” and he wound up undergoing an equally “stressful” nine-week recovery period.
During that time, Robinson had to clean and change Bennett’s bandages every day, as well as drive him to the hospital every few days so that doctors could examine his vape wound.
Thankfully, weeks later, the boy claims “the pain is much better now.” Unfortunately, the failed skin graft will probably leave a permanent dent in his foot, according to his mom. There is no update on whether the teen could still lose the limb.
In light of the freak accident, Benneth’s grandmother, Andrea Keen, 56, shared photos of his injury to raise awareness about the importance of properly disposing of electronic smoking devices.
“If someone was running around with bare feet, that could go right through [the foot],” Keen declared. “People have got to learn to dispose of vapes properly.”
Of course, people don’t need to step on a vape pen for it to cause them harm.
A recent study suggested that toxins in e-cigarettes could damage users’ eyesight in addition to its previously publicized side effects. E-cigs heat a liquid, often fruity flavored, that contains nicotine, the addictive substance of tobacco. They also contain propylene glycol, glycerin, flavorings and other chemicals that research shows may be harmful, though on a significantly lower scale than tobacco.