Georgia Woman With Flesh-Eating Disease to Lose Hands, Right Foot
Aimee Copeland, who will lose multiple limbs, shed no tears, family said.
May 18, 2012— -- Aimee Copeland, the Georgia student who lost her leg to a rare flesh-eating infection two weeks ago, shed no tears after learning she would lose her remaining foot and both hands, according to her family. Her reaction instead: "Let's do this."
The 24-year-old remains in intensive care at an Augusta hospital, still battling the effects of the May 1 zip line accident that cut open her calf and invited the life-threatening infection. Her breathing tube has been replaced by a tracheostomy, a tube inserted directly into her wind pipe.
Despite showing signs of recovery, Copeland's hands and right foot will be amputated to prevent the infection from spreading to her blood, according to her father.
"As they usually do, the doctors were presenting us with a medical no-brainer," he wrote in a blog dedicated to her recovery Thursday. "We had to do what is necessary to save Aimee's life."
It's unclear whether the amputations have already occurred. A spokeswoman at Doctors Hospital in Augusta deferred questions to Andy Copeland's blog.
Before learning about the amputations, Copeland learned about the kayaking trip on the Little Tallapoosa River, the fall from a homemade zip line, and the wound that wouldn't heal -- events blurred by drugs designed to keep her calm in intensive care. She also learned about the flood of support and well-wishes.
"We told her that the world loved and admired her. We explained that she had become a symbol of hope, love and faith," Andy Copeland wrote. "Aimee's eyes widened and her jaw dropped. She was amazed."
Fears that Copeland would react to the news of her amputations with "horror and depression" quickly faded as she nodded acceptingly and asked about prosthetics.
"We all understood her next three words," Andy Copeland wrote. "Let's do this."
Copeland's upbeat reaction to the devastating news brought her father to tears.
"I wasn't crying because Aimee was going to lose her hands and foot, I was crying because in all my 53 years of existence, I have never seen such a strong display of courage," he wrote. "I was crying because I am a proud father of an incredibly courageous young lady."