One of the unanswered questions surrounding the tragic death of Morgan Ingram is, did she have Acute Intermittent Porphyria (AIP) and if she did, why is it significant?
To answer the second question it is necessary to answer the first. What is AIP and how does the condition affect the patient?
Acute Intermittent Porphyria (pronounced por FEER ee ah) is an autosomal dominant metabolic disorder affecting the production of heme, a compound that carries oxygen and gives blood its red color. Making heme requires eight different enzymes. Sufferers of AIP have a deficiency of porphobilinogen deaminase, (PBGD) the third in sequence of the enzymes required for heme synthesis. Because the PBGD is deficient, heme synthesis cannot finish and the metabolite, called porphobilinogen accumulates in the cytoplasm.
Interestingly, the enzyme deficiency alone is not sufficient to produce the symptoms of AIP. Other activating factors must be present. These include some medications, illicit drugs, alcohol, luteal phase of the menstrual cycle, stress, smoking and diet.
The majority of those who inherit the gene for AIP never develop symptoms.
Symptoms of AIP include the following:
- severe abdominal pain
- tachycardia (heart rate < 100 bpm)
- hypertension (high blood pressure)
Toni Ingram has repeatedly said Morgan was not diagnosed with AIP. She claims that Morgan’s health problems stemmed from long-term low level carbon monoxide poisoning that finally subsided years after the exposure, when she received hyperbaric oxygen treatments. This is complete fiction. The half-life of COHb is 4-6 hours, therefore a person being ill even a week beyond their last exposure is medically impossible.
If Toni says Morgan did not have AIP, why does the rumor persist? What evidence supports the AIP diagnosis? First there is the fact that her father, Steven Ingram told Garfield County Sheriff’s Deputy Robert Glassmire that Morgan was being worked up for AIP. He also said Morgan met all of the conditions of AIP and was being treated for the disease.
Furthermore, a confidential source has shared with us the following information:
- In the last year of her life, Morgan was seen by the emergency department more than fifteen times for stomach pain. In fact, Morgan presented to the ED with stomach pain just days before she died. The doctor noted she was hallucinating and she thought she was being watched; both symptoms consistent with porphyria.
- Toni was very actively involved in Morgan’s medical treatment. It was not unusual for her to try to direct Morgan’s medical care based on her own research. She tried to have a standing order put into place with the ED for the medications she felt worked best for Morgan’s AIP attacks.
- The only reason Morgan did not have a definitive diagnosis of AIP is because Toni refused the genetic test due to the high cost (though they were able to afford their rent in excess of $2500 per month, eating out several times a week, a Land Rover, I-phones and I-Macs). [A definitive diagnosis of AIP could have opened up the option for Morgan to receive prophylactic infusions of heme].
- Before The Ingrams decided Morgan was murdered, they insisted her stalking led to a stress induced AIP attack that killed her.
Now, where does this leave us? What can we conclude? Morgan was a regular visitor to the hospital’s emergency department; before Morgan died Toni insisted doctors treat her daughter for AIP, and both Toni and Steve told investigators Morgan had AIP. Based on this information it seems reasonable to conclude Morgan Ingram suffered from Acute Intermittent Porphyria; or at least Steve and Toni Ingram believed she did.
The evidence supporting a presumptive AIP diagnosis is much stronger than evidence of a stalker. In fact, the AIP diagnosis explains the stalking. The tapping on the windows and the shadowy human form standing next to the patio were the product of paranoid hallucinations brought on by porphyria. There was never a stalker. There was only an enigmatic sensitive girl trying to cope with horrific pain that could have been prevented if her mother had bothered to pursue a definitive diagnosis.
Is it really so hard to believe that Morgan Ingram, faced with yet another agonizing porphyria attack and fearful of the stalker residing in her mind, in the briefest of moments lost sight of the big picture? Isn’t it possible that this normally selfless exceptional girl took a handful of pills, not because she wanted to die, but because she wanted to make the pain stop?