May 11th, 2012
01:46 PM ET

Victim of flesh-eating bacteria is showing ‘fighting spirit,’ dad says

A University of West Georgia graduate student who lost one limb and will probably lose parts of others to flesh-eating bacteria is mouthing words to her family and showing a "fighting spirit," her father said Friday.

Aimee Copeland is fighting for her life at an Augusta hospital after her left leg and part of her abdomen were removed last week. She contracted the infection after injuring her calf in a zip line accident 10 days ago.

"I would say that she has more commands than questions right now," Andy Copeland told "CNN Newsroom," saying his daughter’s breathing tube was repositioned so her parents could read her lips. "'I can’t talk,' was what she said. And we said, 'We know, honey, you've got a tube down your throat.'

"She said, 'Then take it out.' So her fighting spirit is obviously shining through right now.'

Aimee, 24, contracted the bacteria Aeromonas hydrophila  during an outing with friends near the Little Tallapoosa River, about 50 miles west of Atlanta, on May 1, her family has said. She fell when a homemade zip line she was using snapped, and she gashed her left calf.

The family has said she sought medical treatment for the wound and received 22 staples to close it, according to CNN affiliate WSB. But on May 4, after she complained of pain for days, a friend took her to an emergency room, and she was diagnosed with necrotizing fasciitis and flown to Augusta for surgery. She went into cardiac arrest after being removed from the operating table, but was resuscitated, CNN affiliate WGCL reported.

Her father wrote in an Internet post Thursday that her hands and remaining foot also will have to be amputated soon, because blood vessels there have died as the disease has spread. He said Friday that Aimee doesn’t yet know about these next amputations.

"There’s no way I would reveal that to her in her current state. I believe that it would just traumatize her further," he said, adding that a psychiatrist at the hospital will tell her when she's able to talk.

Andy Copeland wrote Thursday that Aimee shows no sign of brain damage and that a doctor said her lungs are healing. On Friday, he told CNN the road ahead for Aimee will be difficult.

"It's obvious (that) if you’re missing one limb, it's going to be hard enough. But if you're missing all of your limbs, it’s going to be incredibly difficult," he said. "But I guess I want everybody to know is that she’s not alone. She’s got her family to support her in this, and not just us."

Thousands of people have connected with a Facebook page that the family also is using to update her progress.

"She's got the support of the entire world right now. And that's really what's humbled us greatly in this entire process, just knowing that everybody's looking at Aimee and praying for Aimee and just offering their undying support. For that, we'll be eternally grateful."

Aimee Copeland, of Snellville, Georgia, is a graduate psychology student at the University of West Georgia and was scheduled to complete her master's degree in the fall, school spokeswoman Yolanda Rodriguez said.

On Thursday night, a couple dozen students and faculty members attended a vigil for her in a building that houses the school’s psychology department.

"Despite the fact that medical evidence says she should be dead, she isn't. I think that’s what makes it so precious to so many people, to see how amazing she really is," Chris Aanstoos, a University of West Georgia professor, told WSB on Thursday.

Dr. Buddy Creech, an assistant professor of pediatric infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University, said that Aeromonas hydrophila, found in water and elsewhere in the environment, is one of many bacteria that can cause a flesh-eating process.

"When it gets into those deeper tissues, it has a remarkable ability to destroy the tissues that surround it in sort of this hunt for nutrition," Creech said Friday. "When it does that, those tissues die, and you see the inflammation and the swelling and the destruction that can be very difficult to control."

Creech said Aeromonas hydrophila more commonly affects humans when it is swallowed resulting in diarrhea. When young children or children with immune problems drink water with the bacteria, "they can get a very significant diarrhea illness from it," he said.

"It’s much more uncommon that we see it in (a case like Copeland's), where we see wounds get infected and the infection runs wild,” Creech said.

soundoff (694 Responses)
  1. Obelisktrj

    To give in to a false choice because I feel a particular Way as an instinctual reaction would  be untruth, and this would not enhance the utilitarian, this would only increase suffering for my own desire of morality and so I can have spirit and will..

    From a false dualistic perspective (transcribing down to it) I would feel,it selfish and cowardly to do so, for I would be going for the anti utilitarian to have meaning, at the expense of doing the divine will. 

    It's just about what makes sense, i don't feel any particular way for any event for I cannot know its purpose in the greater context. I love being, I love life. And suffering is part of existence and learning. I do not judge And I'm not going to give into a false choice. It's just the way it is.

    May 15, 2012 at 4:10 am | Report abuse |
  2. Obelisktrj

    Just because I have had lower vibrations doesn't take away from this truth....I mean, these lower vibrations are not untruth either, they are justified from a certain level of consciousness..(e outrage...the indignation)....they are simultaneously true...

    Let me give you an example....I'd everyone we're absolutely certain they lived in the matrix and death meant nothing...then all of this would be seen as a passing phase right? Like an experience, perhaps even a video game to some even though not diminishing its importance for it is sacred by higher consciousness....just because some people can see this truth yet others do not, of lower consciousness and fall to Doubt, does that diminish them? No, they are both accurate perspectives given their level of perception , an ism, and both are ways of experiencing meaning....in fact, this you behave I darkness makes you learn much about yourself so it helps you improve...so in some sense it is better.

    But within the tautology one meaning does not invalidate the other. They are both valid. I have felt both. I have seen through them as I I were them.

    I just don't want to deal with limitation anymore, that doesn't diminish your experience, it just means that I want to go to another experience because I see that there is so much more to create and that all this suffering is unnecessary....unless you still want to be challenged by the 0,1...duality...

    Yes, it's a matrix, I'm In a vehicle....I don't resonate with it and I dont give in to false choice....but you are just as valid...

    Follow your path...and let me follow mine...

    And if you choose to get rid if duality, then now that you see....do so......yes, this is not the only reality....you don't have to suffer....

    I think I know what most people will be choosing.

    May 15, 2012 at 4:20 am | Report abuse |
  3. olu

    Devil come to kill, Jesus is here to save, we are like engine in the hand of God and every engine has spare parts so is our body, God has evry part of our body in His store only Faith throug prayer can obtain it from Him, my advice to this girl parents is to be prayerfull becuse with God nothing is impossible.remain well in Jesus name.

    May 15, 2012 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Riko

      What? now G carries spare parts we can pray for when ours stops working? Sweet!

      May 15, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Obelisktrj

    I started posting all of the text from a notepad onto this comment section via my iPad. Unfortunately a lot of the text got messed up in the translation and some of the posting "jumped" , a whole portion of the writing didn't follow because it missed a page of text.

    Btw olu, I'm not trying to change anything on this comment section, you've already lost (I'm assuming you're a dark). Have fun using the will, because I'm not going to give into a false choice. I'm not going to be sacrificed for your little a ss parade, so get I'm line soon you'll have nowhere to stand. Have fun collapsing the world, I'm sure you'll have the biggest dck once it gets really hot without the illusion.

    May 15, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Obelisktrj

    Remember the reason you joined (lower darks....you were a pssy, that's why you joined the bureaucracy in the first place...leave that kind of heat for the top..because 95 percent of you are going to get replaced once you are in the hot zone
    pure will
    They call it hell for a reason.

    May 15, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Obelisktrj

    I don't write well and don't project well given my problem...

    But I will not change my perspective......even under torture you would be breaking the meta phaycal bond and so it doesn't change a thing....I don't have to activate, even if I fail to activate ithe emanations I am producing you will have no place to stand by the time Im done.

    So have fun collapsing the world.

    May 15, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Obelisktrj

    I'm going to break your will. watch.

    May 15, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Garsneezo

    Well, surely her god will cause her amputate limbs to regrow, with all of those prayers coming in. If they don't, I'd say that's a pretty gaping hole in the "God Exists" hypothesis.

    May 15, 2012 at 1:25 pm | Report abuse |
  9. For Faith Healers

    Watch your daughter turn into a living torso then try to thank your god for creating such a marvellous creature. Yeah and our prayers will be with you though when her mother holds her stump of an arm before she closes her eyes for the last time. Praise the lord.

    May 15, 2012 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Contrarian

      Although I too identify as an atheist, I find myself disgusted with the number of other apparent atheists who have mocked the prayers of others here in this post. There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with showing your support for the Copelands, whether it's through prayer or just kind words. This is not the proper avenue to "test" or "invalidate" others' religious beliefs.

      This family is undergoing a terrible trial right now, and it's important to focus on the kindness and compassion they need and deserve as they continue to persevere. To the Copeland family, I wish you all the best, and that may you find comfort, through whatever means necessary, during this trying time.

      May 15, 2012 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jackie Marlow

    She so fine I'd still hiddit.

    May 15, 2012 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Obelisktrj

    Stephen, if you are a dark, I find it astounding how you mock something of this level.

    The world is going to hell Stephen, hopefully you will be as much of a man when tshtf as you are now.

    May 15, 2012 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Obelisktrj

    If you actually thin I'm insane; it makes sense given the comments. Basically I lay out esoteric knolwedge on the existence of a cosmic intelligence and the end point of evolution (a simple analogue is ray kurzweils singularity but it has to do with information and reality itself). I put it here because it might benefit, I did it in a haphazard way and badly, so your point of view is valid.

    May 15, 2012 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Obelisktrj

    May tod be with you (btw, that stuff about the world ending it applies mostly to the dark, your thoughts define the world around you so be mindful of that)

    May 16, 2012 at 3:53 am | Report abuse |
  14. Obelisktrj

    May god be with you*

    May 16, 2012 at 3:54 am | Report abuse |
  15. Obelisktrj

    In time the dark and light will be merged and all will be of the clear light.

    May 16, 2012 at 3:55 am | Report abuse |
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