Jordan Nisbet
Jordan Nisbet
May 5, 2024 ·  4 min read

Man Dies After Vape Pen Explodes, Severing an Artery in His Throat

This article was originally published in March 2019 and has since been updated

24-year-old William Brown from Fort Worth, Texas died in a fatal accident. His vaporizer pen/e-cigarette was reported to have exploded as he was trying to make use of it. A splintered piece reportedly lodged in his throat, which severed an artery in his neck, eventually leading to a stroke. The lodged piece, according to his grandmother, wasn’t immediately removed. A delay that she believes could have played a role in his death.

According to reports from CBSDFW 11, Eric had stopped at Smoke and Vape DZ, a store in Fort Worth. The store manager explained that Eric didn’t buy anything. He had come in seeking help. He wanted directions on how to operate a Mechanical Mod style vape pen. The store wasn’t able to help him because they didn’t sell that exact model of pen. It was known to have issues potentially putting users at great risk. Details on the exact brand of vape pen Eric had come in with hasn’t been released yet.

Eric’s accident occurred in the parking lot. According to the Tarrant County investigators, the battery on the device had been faulty, which caused the explosion. The store manager noticed Eric struggling in the parking lot and immediately dialed 911. He was promptly conveyed to John Peter Smith Hospital (JPS) in the Fort Worth area, where he died two days later. The Tarrant County medical examiner reports that a splinter from the device severed an artery in his neck, causing a major stroke.

Eric’s grandmother believes the doctors didn’t do their best

In an interview with CBS 11, Alice Brown insists her grandson’s death could have been avoided. She had raised from childhood and he was the whole world to her. To lose him so abruptly shattered the old woman.

“He had a future ahead of him; a life ahead of him,” said Alice. She explained that a piece of the device lodged in his throat and the doctors didn’t remove it. According to her, an X-ray had revealed the splinter lodged in his throat.  The accident had occurred on Sunday, but the doctors at JPS had wanted to extract it on Monday or Tuesday.

“That went across his lip, apparently somehow, and cut his lip,” said Alice tearfully. “That three-piece thing went into his throat and stayed there, and that’s what they (doctors) should have taken out as soon as they got to the hospital, and they decided to wait until Monday or Tuesday. Murder. Not quite 25-years-old, and he should have had a long life ahead of him. He should have made it if they had done the surgery.”

Internal investigation going on at JPS

The hospital hasn’t released information on the allegations leveled against them by Brown’s family. They insist that their privacy policies prevent from sharing such sensitive information to the public. However, they stated that the matter is under investigation. “We hold ourselves to the highest standards in providing high-quality healthcare and will take family concerns seriously as we review all that transpired.”

When asked if she was going to press charges against the hospital, Alice Brown said it wasn’t necessary. Suing is of no use to her since it won’t bring her beloved boy back [2].

Pros and Cons of Vape Pens

An electronic cigarette (vape pen) is typically a device that uses a rechargeable battery to heat a liquid solution to a high temperature, causing it to vaporize. The vapor is then inhaled as an aerosol [3]. The major difference between these and regular cigarettes is the absence of tobacco. According to a study, the major constituents of e-cigarette liquids are glycerol (average 37 g/100 g), propylene glycol (average 57 g/100 g), and ethylene glycol (average 10 g/100 g) [4]. Typically, nicotine is also a constituent of most e-liquids. However, nicotine levels can vary.

E-cigarettes are supposed to be safer than regular tobacco sticks. Combustion of tobacco releases many hazardous chemicals. The vapor produced by an e-cigarette can still cause some serious lung damage but overall is thought to be relatively safer than the smoke produced by a tobacco cigarette [5].

Apparently, e-cigarettes aren’t 100% mechanically reliable. The tiny batteries of the devices can get volatile and blow up, causing major damage. This is a problem that has occurred in various electronic devices such as cell phones and hoverboards.  A survey published on Tobacco control shows that between 2015 and 2017, 2035 persons were involved in e-cigarette explosions, with varying degrees of injuries [6].

Abstinence from both tobacco cigarettes and e-cigarettes is the best guarantee for good health and physical safety. In the case that a person still wants to use a vape pen, it’s best to make some research and find out the most reliable brands available to you.