16 year old Karissa Klemm, of Bristol, is recovering at home after a ten day hospital stay.
“From what we’ve been told she is the youngest case,” said her mom, Tracy Klemm.
It all started on a trampoline that still sits in the Klemm family's back yard.
Karissa hurt her back one day while jumping, and nothing could ease the pain of a herniated disc quite like the steroid injections she received at OSMC Clinic in Elkhart.
The relief did not last long.
“I just told my mom that my headache was extremely bad, and I was getting sick to my stomach, and my neck started getting stiff,” said Karissa.
They went right to Elkhart General Hospital, where doctors confirmed that Karissa has fungal meningitis.
“It was really heartbreaking and then I didn't want to watch the news anymore and know the death tolls, because even though they said it was early, I just had a fear that something bad could happen,” said Tracy.
Karissa started improving after a few rough days. Doctors cleared her to return home this past weekend.
The treatment continues. Karissa must take anti-fungal pills twice a day for the next three months, with pretty intense side effects.
“I feel better now that I’m out, but the medicine still makes me sleepy and messes with my vision,” she said.
The sophomore returns to Northridge High School next week.
Mom, meanwhile, is talking with a lawyer.
“Hospital bills, doctor bills, prescriptions, it's going to be very costly, not including my time off work and all that,” said Tracy, who plans to sue the Massachusetts pharmacy that manufactured the bad medication.
She could join other fungal meningitis patients in a class-action lawsuit.
“Someone needs to be held accountable,” she said.
Now that they're home, trying to catch up on homework, they say it's just starting to sink in -- how Karissa contracted an infection that's killed more than 20 people, and she was able to walk away.
“I couldn't imagine life without her,” said Tracy.