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. Been There

    My husband also contracted this viscious disease in 1995. Although he survived, he has life-long health issues because of it. It is a very common bacteria that causes this. It lives on most everyones skin and only attacks when introduced into a wound. Even then, not everyone will contract it. My prayers to this young lady and her family.

    May 10, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Shelli

    Her father says doctors have told her family that her chance of survival is "slim to none."

    What the heck kind of comment is that to tell her family? For real? I mean, hey we are probably going to have to continue to cut off limbs and there is a slim to none chance she will live but hand me the saw. Really? Note to self, Never Ever go to that hospital for anything.

    May 10, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • humanbean

      Get a backbone. It's reality. Do you have a hard time with reality? Do you live in a bubble? Life is like that sometimes. Sorry that the doctors didn't sugar coat it more for you.

      May 10, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • AstroD

      Shelli said, "Note to self, Never Ever go to that hospital for anything." You would prefer that the hospital to lie to you? Really? Isn't that grounds for a lawsuit? Note to self, Never Ever listen to someone called Shelli for anything because she'll readily lie to you.

      May 10, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • lynne

      So you would rather that they either a) lie to the family and give them false hope or b) stop trying to save her because the odds aren't good???
      Note to self: never ask you for medical care ever.

      May 10, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • mike

      Health professionals are trained to tell the truth, but say they are doing everything they can. Lying would only cause bigger problems.

      May 10, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jen

      I would assume "slim to none" was their way of giving a reality check to the parents. Apparently this girl's condition is so bad that it is very likely she won't make it, and they need to be prepared for that. I have a very good friend who is a nurse, and she's told me a story or two about families who have been so desperate to hold onto a loved one that they made medical decisions that just did not make sense–like fighting to keep someone on life support while their brain was literally rotting inside the head.

      May 10, 2012 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stephanie

      Shell...do you know that those were the doctor's exact words? How would you like to be told that everything is going to be just fine, when clearly they are not?

      May 10, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
  3. anna

    I feel so sorry for this young woman and her family.

    I hope she manages to survive. My thoughts and prayers are with them all.

    May 10, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  4. jh

    Oh you have a cold with some coughing? Here's some Levaquin, Prometh + Codeine, and an inhaler, pay me.... oh wait

    May 10, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Nelson Colorado Springs Co

    The health department need to check the pond where this young lady was or in Carroll County, Georgia for this super bug

    May 10, 2012 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Ed

    very insighful sal. you are a sad person. I feel sorry for your mirror.

    May 10, 2012 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Sal

    and what's your problem ed?

    May 10, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Sal

    You just didn't understand my post or what?

    May 10, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Report abuse |
  9. SalsALoser

    Sal's clearly a loser. Go for a swim Sal. Your chlorinated pool is loaded with this bacteria.

    May 10, 2012 at 3:25 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Sal

    Another dumb stupid poster.........

    May 10, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Sal

    Hey twit, what was the problem with my post? You probably didn't know how to interpret it right.......

    May 10, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Rabbit

    when it was my day we would call the cdc immediatley... anyone remember icicles?

    May 10, 2012 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  13. zoomzom

    Immune system of average American is pretty low due to being overy hygiene conscious and isloating ourselves from environment. I found this the hard way while travelling overseas trip where my US friends will develop stomach problems more frequently than folks from other developing countires.

    May 10, 2012 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Sal Is A Troll

    Pay it no mind.

    May 10, 2012 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Courtney

    Have they tried hyperbaric oxygen treatments? This might be effective, it sounds like they should give anything a shot at the moment. I met a lady once that had flesh eating bacteria as a result of being attacked by a rooster and she went through quite an ordeal but the wound care center was able to help significantly. They excised around the area and were able to thwart much of the spread.

    May 10, 2012 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • cpc65

      Courtney, if the infection was just on the surface that might work, but if this poor girl's muscle tissue has been attacked it sounds like the bacteria is deep inside her body. I don't know if that kind of treatment can do any good in her situation.

      May 10, 2012 at 3:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • LaShawn

      Yes, they have tried that.

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