The college student who lost her leg after a zip-line accident last week will likely have to face more amputations, doctors say.
24-year old Aimee Copeland was riding a homemade zip-line near Little Tallapoosa River on May 1st when the line snapped and cut her leg open. While it was a deep enough gash to require stitches, Copeland had no cause for concern after she went to the hospital to get stitched up. What she didn’t know, however, is that a form of bacteria had been introduced into her bloodstream that spread directly to her muscle tissue and began to deteriorate it.
The scariest part is that the bacteria is a common one–Aeromonas hydrophila–which usually just causes stomach troubles like diarrhea and can be found in fresh water areas, which is likely where Copeland picked it up. She happens to be highly susceptible to infection from it, and once it was introduced to an open wound, it spread like wildfire through her system. Doctors say it’s likely now that she’ll lose her other foot and both hands, although since a scare where her heart stopped on Friday, she’s actually started recovering and shows signs that she understands when she is spoken to. She remains in critical condition.
Although an infection such as Copeland’s is very rare, it is considered deadly since the mortality rate among victims is around 60%.
Aimee’s father, Andy Copeland, acknowledge that his daughter has a hard road ahead of her, but that he is grateful she is alive after initially being given a slim chance to survive.
“I couldn’t conceive of what it would be like for my daughter to lose her hands and the only other foot she has, as well, and that appears to be what is going to happen,” he said. “The most important thing is my daughter is still alive.”