Aimee Copeland, the 25-year-old who lost her hands, both feet and her entire right leg to flesh-eating bacteria a year ago, has received two new bionic hands.
Copeland spent the week in Ohio at Touch Bionics, where she received two bionic hands free of charge. The hands cost $100,000 a piece, on average, a company spokesperson told ABCNews.com.
In a 30-second video Copeland sent to WSBTV, the ABC News affiliate in Atlanta, she uses one of the new hands to pick up a potato chip and put it in her mouth.
“That was great. How is it? Satisfying?” the man behind the camera asks. Copeland nods enthusiastically as she chews. Then, she laughs.
Copeland spent the week getting fitted for the limbs and learning how to use them. The prosthetics respond to muscle signals in Copeland’s residual limbs and are capable of 24 different kinds of movements.
She will leave Touch Bionics to return to her Snellville, Ga., home today. Touch Bionics offered to donate the prosthetic hands because Copeland had run out of health insurance to pay for them herself, a company spokesperson said.
Copeland cut open her right leg falling from a zip line near the Tallapoosa River in Georgia in April 2012, allowing a deadly bacterium to enter her body. She said she sensed something wasn’t quite right days after receiving 22 stitches to close the wound on her calf because it hurt up to her thigh.
The bacteria advanced undetected until her leg turned “a dark purple color,” Copeland said on the set of ABC’s “Katie” talk show in September.
“I wasn’t able to walk,” she told show host Katie Couric. “I wasn’t able to speak. The only thing I was able to babble was, ‘I think I’m dying.’”
After being in and out of the emergency room with the painful wound that wouldn’t heal, doctors realized Copeland had necrotizing fasciitis and amputated her leg from the hip.
Later, when her hands turned black, doctors amputated them, too.
Copeland spent two months in a hospital and another two months in rehabilitation before returning to her renovated home in late August 2012.