Stephanie Ingberg: Where is E. Coli Survivor Now?

Directed by Stephanie Soechtig, Netflix’s ‘Poisoned: The Dirty Truth About Your Food’ is a compelling documentary that highlights the possible dangers present within the US food system. While the facts stated in the film make a persuasive case on their own, the real-life stories told by those directly affected by these possible dangers are what genuinely help viewers understand the extent of this issue. One such case is that of  Stephanie Ingberg, who shared how her life turned out in a matter of days due to E. Coli and its effect on her loved ones.

Who is Stephanie Ingberg?

It was March 2018, and Stephanie was eagerly awaiting the start of her spring break for the last year of high school. Two days before she was scheduled to leave for Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, she and her friend apparently visited a St. Louis Bread Company outlet, where Stephanie had a salad. Not long afterward, according to the Netflix documentary, she started to feel pain in her stomach, something that her parents, Scott and Candie Ingberg, became concerned about.

However, the Ingbergs seemingly did not realize how severe the condition might become and embarked upon the scheduled trip. “When we got to the Dominican Republic, and we were at the resort, she felt like she was feeling a little bit better. But throughout the night, it progressed, getting worse and worse,” Candie shared. “That’s when I realized we needed to get some help. It was an absolute nightmare of tests and doctors.”

Initially, the local doctors seemingly believed it to be a case of food poisoning and gave Stephanie medicine for the same. However, the teenager’s condition apparently only got worse as her family tried to make sense of the situation. “The next morning, when they let me go in to see her, she didn’t recognize me,” Candie recalled. “She was pulling at her hair, her kidneys had stopped functioning, and she was having swelling of her brain.”

Scott and Candie Ingberg

In the Netflix documentary, Scott and Candie shared how they were asked to contact the medical authorities in the USA in order to arrange for an emergency evacuation. After talking to various people, Scott was apparently able to find someone who agreed to airlift Stephanie on the same day. Now admitted to St. Luke’s Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri, the doctors found Shiga toxin in her blood, which is primarily produced by E. Coli O157:H7.

Both Scott and Candie recalled how they were told that there was a possibility that Stephanie might not make it through the night. After suggesting that her brother should be called back home, the parents were asked to check up on where their daughter might have gotten the dangerous pathogen from. The Ingerbgs contacted Stephanie’s friends, one of whom seemingly found out that the outlet at which Stephanie had eaten the salad had been issued a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notice due to contaminated lettuce.

Stephanie Ingberg is Thriving as a Nursing Student Now

As told in the Netflix documentary, Stephanie Ingberg gained consciousness on the day her parents were told she might pass away. As it turns out, Stephanie had to stay under medical supervision for about three weeks, trying to recover from the organ damage that had been caused due to E. Coli. Determined not to miss out on the monumental moments of her senior year, the teenager gave it her all and was ecstatic to be able to attend her graduation and prom.

That being said, Stephanie’s brush with the dangerous pathogen seems to have damaged her kidneys very heavily. She shared how she has to take strong medication, and it is possible that she might need a kidney transplant in the future. “I might have to be on dialysis for the rest of my life. You never want to hear that,” she confessed emotionally. Nevertheless, she has not let any of it bring her down, and she entered the world of nursing following her schooling. As of 2019, she was one of the star students at Sinclair School of Nursing.

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