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. upstateny

    Hope and prayers from my heart to Aimee and her family.

    May 10, 2012 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
  2. Juan Torres

    if a doctor gives tylenol , then that doctor is a quack. tylenol damages the liver period.

    May 10, 2012 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Lee

      You have obviously studied the pharmacology of Tylenol in depth:/ Tylenol can damage the liver if you take more than 4g of it every day, but as long as your liver glutathione levels are normal, no damage will be done. Learn to read Juan...

      May 10, 2012 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Flatsguide

      Why don't you give the Doctor a call, he could probably use your professional expertise in this matter.

      May 10, 2012 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
    • sbp

      Please illuminate us as to where your medical degree is from.

      May 10, 2012 at 11:25 am | Report abuse |
  3. Marie

    Aeromonas hydrophila is not a true eating flesh bacteria. It gives serious gastroenteritis at worst. For people with compromised immune systems, you can have myonecrosis (necrosis of the muscle) but it is not comparable to the damage done by the real eating-flesh bactria which is Necrotizing fasciitis. Both bacteria produce toxins that damage the tissues but Aeromonas does not this unless the person is serioulsy ill already. Another report on Fox says she contracted Necrotizing. Please CNN check your sources.

    May 10, 2012 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
    • jcmd

      Necrotizing fasciitis is not a bacteria, it is the name given to the syndrome caused by a flesh-eating bacteria. A. hydrophila can cause wound infections. If you are not a physician, do not comment about diseases pretending you are.

      May 10, 2012 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Realitybites

      Nonesense Marie,
      You need to read up on soft tissue infections following water exposure. Aeromonas is one of the most predominant organisms to cause severe soft tissue infection in this category.

      May 10, 2012 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
    • TinKnight

      Aeromonas hydrophilia can cause myonecrosis in people with compromised immune systems (such a someone with a severely large gash, broken legs due to a zip line fall, and so on)...myonecrosis causes the muscle necrotic damage that this article refers to.

      While it's certainly not common in a healthy active 24-year-old woman, it was probably aided by her fall and (possibly extensive) injuries.

      May 10, 2012 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Fiona

      Wow, Marie, you can Google up Wikipedia and cut and paste. Aren't you smart.

      May 10, 2012 at 11:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Robin

      Necrotizing fasciitis is not a bacteria, it is the name of a condition. The most common cause is Streptococcus pyogenes (the same organism that causes strep throat), but that is certainly not the only etiologic agent.

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

      Cut and paste form various sources to create that mess of a post?

      May 10, 2012 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • pragmatist

      The amount of ignorance on this board is astouding.. Marie–you know enough to be considered ignorant. Necrotizing fascitis is the syndrome of rapid fascial and muscle death to due certain bacterial infections, often Streptococcus, Staphylococcus, and others. It requires quick diagnosis, antibiotics, and immediate surgery or YOU Will DIE

      May 10, 2012 at 11:07 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Edwin

    Very sad. I hope the doctors' predictions turn out to be wrong. This kind of infection can attack very fast.

    May 10, 2012 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
  5. elusively2


    May 10, 2012 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
  6. banasy©

    My heart goes out to her and her family.
    This is awful.

    May 10, 2012 at 10:43 am | Report abuse |
  7. Ant928

    Homemade zip line..."Stupid is as stupid does sir!"

    May 10, 2012 at 10:45 am | Report abuse |
  8. TheOtherBrian

    People are so stupid it makes me physically ill. THE ZIPLINE DIDN'T CAUSE THE INFECTION, YOU TATTOOED BONEHEAD. God, I'm turning into my grandpa.

    May 10, 2012 at 10:54 am | Report abuse |
    • TinKnight

      The zip line didn't cause the infection, and I'm pretty sure no one's saying that...BUT, the zip line FAILURE, causing her to fall and be severely injured, is EXACTLY how the infection was able to come about.

      May 10, 2012 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
    • WildWest

      I would call the unsafe zipline a causal factor. That point is moot now, I just hope that she is able to pull through. May the powers greater than us be with you.

      May 10, 2012 at 11:37 am | Report abuse |
  9. dfgsdg

    Scary stuff. My thoughts go out for her

    May 10, 2012 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
  10. MMiller

    I'm with TheOtherBrian, Ant928's comment is a good indicator of why America is in such a sad state—we have lost our collective soul. Every single person with some thoughtless comment here should consider the pain this girls family must be enduring as they watch their daughter's life being drained away before their eyes. It's a terrible, sad situation and a warning that bacteria are quickly becoming resistant to all of our anti-biotics and we should try being just a little more compassionate. Drop the video game and hug a human being for a change.

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

    To everybody that found my post offensive IAM SORRY!! It was a post that i should have said once again Im sorry

    May 10, 2012 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
  12. Mmmars

    Stop complaining about drug companies making profits!! If they don't make money they can't invest in critical research that will give us new antibiotics! We need companies to invest in this research.

    May 10, 2012 at 11:17 am | Report abuse |
  13. pat

    myself, as a father of a sole child who I would give my life for, I cannot imagine the pain of the family.

    May 10, 2012 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
  14. privacy10

    What about Microcyn? Is it real?

    May 10, 2012 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
  15. Dianne

    My husband survived Necrotizing Fasciitis last fall . The emergency room doctor saved his life by starting him on antibiotics immediatey upon seeing him , thank God but it was a long and painful recovery with many surgeries. My prayers go to this girl and her family so that they stay strong.

    May 10, 2012 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
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