Skip to main content
Skip to main content

WKU News

Family watches 'miraculous survival' of woman fighting flesh-eating bacteria

 A 24-year-old woman in a hospital bed fighting off flesh-eating bacteria has to be told repeatedly -- each time she wakes up -- what has happened, her parents told CNN on Monday.

The medication Aimee Copeland is given leads her to forget each time she falls asleep.

"It's scary to her," said her mother, Donna Copeland. She asks where she is and "doesn't understand."

Yet Aimee Copeland -- who has lost a leg and part of her abdomen to the virulent bacteria and may lose more, including her fingers -- is keeping her spirits strong, her father said.

 

"We really don't see the suffering side of it. We see the miraculous survival," Andy Copeland said. "I think that's the story that's inspired us, that's the story that's inspired, I think, the nation at this point."

On Facebook, he wrote that doctors have used words like "astonishing," "confounding" and "mind-boggling" to describe the young woman's recovery.

The master's student in psychology at the University of West Georgia was out with friends on May 1 near the Little Tallapoosa River, about 50 miles west of Atlanta, when she grabbed onto a homemade zip line. It snapped.

The accident left her with a gash in her left calf that took 22 staples to close.

Three days later, when the pain continued, a friend took her to an emergency room, where she was diagnosed with necrotizing fasciitis and flown to Augusta for surgery.

She had contracted the flesh-devouring Aeromonas hydrophila. The bacterium is "remarkably common in the water and in the environment," according to Dr. Buddy Creech, an assistant professor of pediatric infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University.

"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," he said. "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."

In most cases, people contract the bacteria by swallowing them, resulting in diarrhea. Aimee Copeland's case was much more rare. Her wound became infected, "and the infection (ran) wild," Creech said.

A blog set up by the University of West Georgia psychology department said Aimee Copeland 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."

Speaking to CNN on Monday, her father said doctors were assessing "day by day, or even hour by hour."

Copeland has told his daughter that one day, the family will celebrate Aimee Day -- when she will be able to breathe on her own. "We're going to celebrate that day forever for the rest of your life," he told her. "It's the day that my daughter was delivered from this horrible, horrible disease."

If there's anything to be learned, Andy Copeland said, it's not to use homemade zip lines.

Aimee Copeland's parents say that when she wakes up, she expresses concern about finishing her thesis.

In her studies, she has focused on eco-psychology -- the idea that harmonizing with nature can be a powerful tool in ensuring one's psychological health and vitality.

 

Source:  http://www.cnn.com/2012/05/14/health/georgia-flesh-eating-bacteria/index.html?hpt=he_c1

Categories
All News  Now Viewing Category: All
Media Relations
President Caboni News
CEBS
CHHS News
Gordon Ford College of Business
Ogden News
PCAL
Academic Affairs
WKU Regional Campuses
Glasgow News
Etown & Fort Knox
Owensboro News
Transportation
The Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky
The Center for Gifted Studies
Police
Emergency Preparedness
Facilities
Housing & Residence Life
Student Activities and Organizations
Augenstein Alumni Center
Campus Activities Board
The Confucius Institute
Cultural Enhancement Series
DELO News
Department of Music
Department of Theatre & Dance
Development and Alumni Relations
Downing Museum
Downing Student Union
Hardin Planetarium
Health Services
Human Resources News
Instruments of American Excellence
International Student Office
Kinesiology, Recreation & Sport
Library News
Math News
Office of International Programs
Office of Research
Office of Sustainability
Parent's Association
School of Journalism & Broadcasting
Student Financial Assistance
Scholarships Student Financial Assistance
Student Employment
Student Government Association News
Student Research Council
Study Abroad
Van Meter Auditorium
WellU
WKU Educational Leadership Doctoral Program News
WKU Joint Admissions
WKU Parent and Family Weekend
Latest Headlines
WKU Recreation Administration Program Hosts River Clean-Up
WKU Interior Design Students Participate in IIDA 6th Biennial Product Runway Style Fashion Show
Twin brothers promote involvement through Building Men of Worth

Making a difference in the lives of others is vital to WKU seniors Cam & Chris Currin. Hailing from Nashville, these twin brothers came to WKU for different majors, but they work together to address an issue that is important to WKU and to the nation.

Featured Articles
Katherine Crider crowned WKU Homecoming queen

Katherine Crider of Dawson Springs was crowned WKU’s 2017 Homecoming queen on Saturday (Oct. 14).

WKU recognizes top volunteers at Summit Awards

WKU recognized its top volunteers at the annual Summit Awards. Distinguished Service Medals to recognize the service of the University’s top volunteers were presented to Julie Harris Hinson, James G. Meyer and Linda S. Miller.

Robert Reich Visits Grise Hall for a Question & Answer Session with Students

Note: documents in Portable Document Format (PDF) require Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.0 or higher to view,
download Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Note: documents in Excel format (XLS) require Microsoft Viewer,
download excel.

Note: documents in Word format (DOC) require Microsoft Viewer,
download word.

Note: documents in Powerpoint format (PPT) require Microsoft Viewer,
download powerpoint.

Note: documents in Quicktime Movie format [MOV] require Apple Quicktime,
download quicktime.

 
 Last Modified 5/2/17