"People need to know before they buy these devices that there is a possibility that they will burst in their pocket, on your face," says Doctor Katie Russell, Director of Health for Trauma at the Primary Hospital who treated the boy for the first time.
It is unclear what type of e-cigarette was involved in the event.
The teenager from Nevada said he had no idea that his weapon could explode, according to Russell. He repeated the line again and again in the emergency room, she recalls, and he was still "quite freaked out" hours after the explosion.
"Then I'd never seen this in my career. Heard of this as an opportunity," said Russell, who described the boy's injuries in the New England Journal of Medicine.
"I just wanted to get this out so others could know it was possible," she added.
The boy Russell treated was "a tough child," she said, and he healed well. But others have been less happy.