Last week 24-year-old Aimee Copeland was healthy and active, out kayaking with her friends on Little Tallapoosa River in Georgia. When they decided to go zip lining, she was game. Unfortunately, the line snapped, and she fell, getting a nasty gash in her leg.
Though she needed more than 20 staples to close the wound, still she might have considered herself lucky if it had ended there. Unfortunately, it didn't, and today Copeland is in an Augusta hospital fighting for her life after a deadly flesh-eating bacteria entered the wound. According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, her leg has already been amputated, and doctors say her prognosis is heartbreakingly bleak.
The bacteria she's fighting is known as necrotizing fasciitis, and it's taken hold over her body despite the amputation and numerous surgeries in the last week. Her father told WXIA-TV that she's already been in cardiac arrest twice and her organs are failing. Doctors say her chances of surviving are "slim to none."
Though it has attacked her so viciously, the infection is rare. The key to help it from progressing her father says, is early detection. In Aimee's case she visited doctors several times after her injury complaining of pain and other symptoms, but each time she was released and sent home. Could things have gone differently if someone had detected it earlier? We may never know, but her father does say he wants everyone to be more aware of it. According to WebMd, symptoms include:
- Pain that gets better over 24 to 36 hours and then suddenly gets worse
- Skin that is red, swollen, and hot to the touch
- A fever and chills
- Nausea and vomiting
This is one of those stories that take my breath away when I think of how fragile our health really is. Here this beautiful young woman was out doing something that we're all supposed to do to maintain our health -- getting active in the great outdoors -- and now she's fighting for her life. Her father told the Atlanta Journal Constitution, "We take so much for granted in life, but I never imagined that one of my daughters would face this most unlikely of situations.”
None of us does.
For now, the family is praying. They've set up a fund to help with medical costs and a Facebook page, Believe and pray for a miracle to happen for Aimee Copeland, to help with what may be their only hope at this point -- a miracle.
Have you ever known anyone to contract any of bacteria like this?