Aimee Copeland Likely To Lose Fingers To Flesh-Eating Disease, Father Says Recovery Is A ?Miracle?

   on May 14 2012 10:09 AM

Aimee Copeland, a University of West Georgia student who contracted necrotizing fasciitis after she cut her leg in zip-line accident, will likely lose her fingers to the flesh eating bacteria.

Copeland, 24, decided to try out a homemade zip line while on a kayaking trip with her friends in Carrollton, Georgia on May 1. The homeland zip-line ended up breaking while she was crossing over a river. Copeland sustained a deep gash on her left calf. She received 22 staples.

However Copeland had contracted necrotizing fasciitis, a flesh-eating bacteria that makes its way through skin, muscle and tissue. By the time doctors diagnosed her, the infection had spread past her injury. Doctors had to amputate her left leg up to the thigh. They also removed some skin from her chest.

According to a post on the University of West Georgia Psychology page, Copeland will lose her fingers to the flesh-eating bacteria.

Aimee will suffer the loss of her fingers, however physicians have hope of bringing life back to the palms of her hands, which could allow her the muscle control to use helpful prosthetics. They are awaiting a safe time before embarking on surgery for this, the post read.

Doctors hope to save the palms of her hands so she could be fitted for prosthetics, reported the Associated Press.

Copeland's father, Andy, said his daughter's fingers basically appear mummified.

Andy wrote in a post on the website that the family remains optimistic on her outcome.

Aimee is doing wonderful this morning, he wrote. She is awake, alert and wanting to be rid of that blasted ventilator.

He wrote that doctors had given medication to Copeland to help her forget the stress she's under, so that explains her inability to recollect many things. Doctors believe Copeland has not sustained any long term brain damage. The damage to her lungs that she received upon the accident is healing slowly.

What we've got is nothing short of a miracle. My baby is alive and her mind is good, said Andy to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. I know we have a difficult road ahead, but right now we're rejoicing.

Copeland has attempted to communicate with her family. She has mouthed What happened, and Where am I? reported the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Andy said she is not showing any signs of remembering what has happened the past two weeks but her personality is barreling through like a freight train. The family has not told her she lost her left leg.

Aeromonas hydrophila, the bacteria that is cause of the infection, is found in warm climates and water. Doctors say the bacteria hardly ever manifest itself into the flesh-eating disease.

ABC News chief health and medical editor Dr. Richard Besser said the circumstance's around Copeland's accident was the perfect storm.

She had an injury to her leg, she was exposed to water then had this germ, and she was one of those people where the germ just took off, he said to ABC News.

Doctors believe Copeland  will take months to recover from the flesh-eating disease.

Copeland is completing her master's degree in Psychology at the University of West Georgia. Her father said she is a lover of people who wants to help people going through trauma.  

Andy told NBC's 'Today' that Copeland wants ice cream to be the first thing she eats on her own. 

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