Aimee Copeland, the Georgia student we told you about last week who contracted a rare flesh-eating disease after a zip line accident will now lose her fingers.
“Aimee will suffer the loss of her fingers, however physicians have hope of bringing life back to the palms of her hands, which could allow her the muscle control to use helpful prosthetics. They are awaiting a safe time before embarking on surgery for this,” said a post on the University of West Georgia Psychology official website.
Copeland, a 24-year-old grad student, has already lost her left leg and may also lose her remaining foot, according to her family. Copeland’s family said that, despite being on a ventilator and unable to speak, she’s showing signs of improvement.
“Aimee appears to have normal brain function at this time, which is something I’m celebrating because within Aimee we have a very compassionate heart and an incredible mind of intellect,” said Copeland’s father, Andy Copeland.
Aimee Copeland was riding a homemade zip line near the Little Tallapoosa River on May 1 when the line snapped, causing her to fall and cut her left calf.
Doctors cleaned out the gash and closed it with 22 staples, but bacteria then burrowed deep into the wound caused necrotizing fasciitis, a rare but deadly infection that claimed her leg.
Aimee’s family says she’s coherent and can now nod and shake her head, a gesture she used to pick the Grateful Dead over the Rolling Stones last week, according to her sister Paige Copeland.
“I just told her if she keeps improving like this, she’ll be out of here in no time,” said Paige.
It’s not yet known how much of the ordeal Aimee remembers. She hasd mouthed, “What happened?” and “Where am I?” and her family has started to provide answers, but they have not yet told her she’s lost her leg.
The bacteria that caused the infection, Aeromonas hydrophila, thrives in warm climates and fresh water, such as the river where Copeland was having fun with her friends – but experts say the germ rarely causes flesh-eating disease.
“This was a perfect storm,” said ABC News chief health and medical editor Dr. Richard Besser. “She had an injury to her leg, she was exposed to water then had this germ, and she was one of those people where the germ just took off.”
More in the video below.
- Zip Line Accident Causes Georgia Woman to Lose Leg to Flesh-Eating Bacteria (VIDEO) (blippitt.com)
- Lips read for woman with flesh-eating disease (heraldonline.com)