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21-Year-Old In Coma For Complications Related To Vaping

ROSEVILLE (CBS13) — A local mom is begging people to not vape. She says it's the reason her son is now in a coma.

Ricky D'Ambrosio, 21, is in the hospital in Roseville fighting for his life. His family told CBS13 he's there because he vaped. Now they want to share his story, with the hopes that it stops others from doing the same.

"He has a heart of gold, that's all I can say," said Caitlynne D'Ambrosio.

She rushed home from college Monday. Her mom, Christy, called to tell her her brother Ricky was in the hospital and wasn't doing well.

READ ALSO: Why The Sudden Spike In Vaping-Related Illnesses?

"I got here as soon as I could, and we've been here ever since," Caitlynne D'Ambrosio said.

Doctors didn't know what was wrong at first. They tested Ricky for an infection. Christy said her son had been vomiting for five days.

"It was really odd. I thought maybe food poisoning or the flu," she said.

"The antibiotics that would be used for the infection are not working," Caitlynne D'Ambrosio said.

READ: FDA Investigating 127 Reports Of Seizures, Neurological Symptoms Related To Vaping

Caitlynne eventually gave doctors the information they needed. She told them Ricky vapes. Ricky was in acute respiratory failure, now officially linked to vaping.

"They decided to paralyze him, put him in a coma and let him just rest," Caitlynne D'Ambrosio said.

Christy says she feels helpless seeing Ricky this way.

"As a mom, this is so hard," she said. "I look at that bed, and I see him as a little boy, and the little boy that I raised."

But now, the Loomis teacher wants to educate others about the real dangers of vaping, before it's too late.

READ: More Than 120 Cases Of Lung Disease In 15 States Could Be Linked To Vaping

"Vaping is so new, there are no real studies out there, there's no real research," she said.

Caitlynne said, "Whether he makes it through or he doesn't, kids need to know this is a real, possible outcome. It can happen to anyone."

Ricky's family tells CBS13 they're still not sure whether he will recover from this. He's been receiving steroids for 24 hours, and doctors say that seems to be helping.

In the meantime, his family tells us if they can save at least one life by telling his story, their goal will be accomplished.

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