In a staggering, terrifying and tragic reminder of how fragile life can be…
24 year old, University of Western Georgia graduate student, Aimee Copeland, is fighting for her life, and fighting to keep an infection from claiming more of her body. In what seemed like a manageable injury, Copeland contracted an infectious bacteria causing necrotizing fasciitis–in short, a disease development that dissolves muscle and other soft tissue.
Copeland was kayaking with friends on Georgia’s Little Tallapoosa River, when the group decided to enjoy a quick zip line trek via homemade rope line. Others navigated the zip line successfully, yet when Copeland was attached to the harness, the rope snapped. She fell and cut her calf. The group was able to get Copeland to the hospital, where 22 staples were needed to close the gash. At that point, she thought the worst was behind her. Unfortunately, the pain continued to intensify and she returned to the hospital to find that her wound was infected. She received antibiotics, but by week’s end, the progression of the disease forced her into a Life Flight transport, where a medical team at a Georgia burn center amputated her left leg at the hip, and removed some tissue from her abdomen. Additionally, she went into cardiac arrest after the surgery, and doctors were able to resuscitate her.
How long ago did this accident occur? 9 days. It happened on May 1st. Copeland’s father, Andy Copeland, stated that it was a miracle that she made it through Friday night and that everyone “should rejoice on this day, because Aimee’s greatest attributes are her incredible intellect and her loving compassion and I am certain that mankind will benefit from both when the tubes are finally removed.”
Copeland is now fighting for her life, as her body is fighting to keep her extremities–they are suffering from poor circulation. According to her family and The Atlanta Journal Constitution, both her hands and her right foot are in jeopardy. And doctors have suggested that her chances of survival are “slim to none.”
Cases like this are rare, and require a series of unpredictable and unfortunate events. Doctors believe that Copeland may have acquired the common Aeromonas hydrophila bacteria from the water after her injury, and it somehow triggered the disease.
Thoughts and prayers are with Aimee and the Copeland family.