May 10th, 2012
07:22 AM ET

Student fights flesh-eating bacteria after zip line fall

[Updated at 3:57 p.m. ET] A University of West Georgia graduate psychology student is fighting for her life with flesh-eating bacteria after falling off a homemade zip line and cutting her leg, CNN affiliates WSB report and WXIA report.

Aimee Copeland, 24, fell off a homemade zip line near a friend’s home in Carroll County, Georgia, on May 1. Doctors at a hospital in Augusta were forced to amputate most of her right leg on Friday after the bacteria destroyed her leg muscles and moved into other parts of her body. She stopped breathing and at one point and had to be resuscitated, her father, Andy Copeland, told WSB.

On Thursday, Andy Copeland told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that her hands and her remaining foot also will have to be amputated.

But he said she was showing improvement at a hospital in Augusta and was "extremely responsive, coherent and alert" on Thursday, the AJC reported.

The AJC reported that Copeland contracted Aeromonas hydrophila in the deep gash in her leg after the zip line broke.


Filed under: Georgia • Health
soundoff (336 Responses)
  1. Tragic

    My heart-felt condolences...

    May 11, 2012 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
  2. bob

    I'll be the first to say it was a foolish stunt. That said how many of us have done foolish things in our youth. As for me I can say I had a blessed youth. When I was younger I did more foolish things than I can even count. I am grateful and thankful that I was able to learn lessons from my actions without serious consequence. My heart goes out to this girl and she will be in my prayers.

    May 11, 2012 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
  3. Whathappened

    I'm not sure from all these comments what actually happened? Is it MRSA, a zip line, or a bacteria?

    May 11, 2012 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
    • CRIS

      the zip line snapped and cut a large gash into her leg, she was zip lining over water, with all the nasty stuff in water, that necrotizing fascitis was able to enter . i want to know why the FIRST time brought to the hospital, they didnt send her packing with antibiotics, why did she have to return to the hospital few days later? I think this hospital needs to be looked at. as far as MRSA or any other of the 3 resistent bacterias, it is POSSIBLE she contracted being in the hospital. i work on an ambulance and almost every patient has MRSA or C-DIFF or VRE which are all antibiotic resistant. Again, i DONT get why the first initial ER visit, she didnt get antibiotics, only says pain meds.. smh

      May 11, 2012 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
    • skytag

      Maybe you should read the article instead of the comments if you want to know what happened. Duh.

      May 11, 2012 at 11:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Raul

      MRSA is a bacteria (Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus).

      Cris; There are many more than three resistant bacteria. Not "bacterias" (The singular is bacterium) Are you suggesting they should have just started her on vancomycin and ciprofloxacin as a prophylactic measure? That is a stellar avenue to increasing strains of resistant bacteria.

      Stick to ambulance work, your knowledge of Microbiology seems abysmal.

      May 11, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Khamul

      MRSA is a resistant bacteria.

      May 11, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  4. whatthe...

    "her hands and her remaining foot also will have to be amputated. But he said she was showing improvement..." Huh?

    May 11, 2012 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Buck

      Yeah, that doesn't sound like "improvement." Very sad and I do hope she pulls through.

      May 11, 2012 at 11:18 am | Report abuse |
    • CRIS

      ummm, yeah she is improving I.E she is ALIVE, its a shame she has to lose her limbs in the ordeal but she was given a grimm prognosis a few days ago meaning they thought she would die, she has in fact...NOT died and has fought ...her body is fighting this....THIS is the improvement, smh

      May 11, 2012 at 11:39 am | Report abuse |
    • yes

      i thought the same way. what is sadder that a 24 yr old girl haveing to spend her life with missing limbs.

      May 11, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • sharky

      Improving as if she is not dead. Read the article, she stopped breathing.

      May 11, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
  5. survivesChlorine

    This agent survives in Chlorinated Pool and Drinking Water! STOP TOUCHING WATER.

    May 11, 2012 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
  6. endOftimes

    Clearly, this signals the end of days as kids can no longer play without risking their limbs... PRAIZE JEBUS...

    May 11, 2012 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
  7. nancheska

    Awful. Best wishes to this girl and her family.

    May 11, 2012 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
  8. Mark

    Geez, that poor girl. I hope she has help dealing with the grief of losing her limbs. That's a terrible thing for a young person to have to go through.

    May 11, 2012 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
  9. CRIS

    everyone, whether you like it or not, has MRSA in their system

    May 11, 2012 at 11:42 am | Report abuse |
  10. Bob

    You should have let the Lord take her rather then be selfish about letting her go and have her live without limbs.

    May 11, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • PublicNightmare

      Are you saying that living without limbs, but with a perfectly good mind is wrong and selfish?

      Did you know this young lady is almost finished with her Master's degree in Psychology and wanted to work with youth who had disabilities and traumas? I think she will be a shining example of strength and poise to those children....not pity and wishing for death.

      May 11, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • PublicNightmare

      Are you saying that living without limbs, but with a perfectly good mind is wrong and selfish?

      Did you know this young lady is almost finished with her Master's degree in Psychology and wanted to work with youth who had disabilities and traumas? I think she will be a shining example of strength and poise to those children.

      May 11, 2012 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  11. yes

    i agree with cris. i cut myself whil in the river behind my house. i usually heal within a few days. this cut took almost 2 months to close. i was lucky enough to have meds at home,as well as something to clean the cut.

    May 11, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Report abuse |
  12. PublicNightmare

    I have been following this story since last week. Recently, she found out she had lupus. This type of flesh eating bacteria attacks immune suppressed people, In most people, this particular strain would have no effect or would cause stomach flu like symptoms. Unfortunately, this was a perfect storm.

    May 11, 2012 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • snowtrails

      I didnt hear about that! This is a truly sad story no matter what, but if her immune system was compromised, it might be of some relief to folks who have gotten paranoid over this sad story.

      May 11, 2012 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Leandro

    I go to school with Aimee. We had just finished the spring semester when this happened. Really sad news. Aimee is a girl so full of energy and life. She is in my prayers as well as her family.

    May 11, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Dark Crows

    i think she may wish she was dead

    May 11, 2012 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
  15. t bone

    If only she would have known we r all covered in mrsa and that she had h.i.v. And lupus beforehand she probably would have insisted on a store bought

    May 11, 2012 at 1:38 pm | Report abuse |
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