Woman with flesh-eating disease asks for a book
A young woman, who obtained a rare flesh-eating bacteria, is getting better.
A grad student in psychology at the University of West Georgia, whom doctors gave little chance of survival due to battling a rare flesh-eating infection, has asked for a book.
'This doctor can't fathom a reason for why she's improved the way she has,' Aimee's father said. 'Her spirits are extraordinarily high.'
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Aimee Copeland, 24, is remaining in critical condition at an Augusta hospital, not able to speak due to a breathing tube in her throat, received a life-threatening infection after she cut her leg in a fall from a broken zip line. Doctors had to amputate young woman's left leg to save her life, and may have to amputate her fingers too. Doctors now believe that they will be able to save the palms of her hands, as well as her right foot.
"This doctor can't fathom a reason for why she's improved the way she has," Andy Copeland, Aimee's father, said in an interview. "Her spirits are extraordinarily high. I am absolutely amazed. I'm not sure how much (she knows) as far as the leg and the hand amputations. I don't have those discussions with her. But if she asks we will tell her."
According to her father, Copeland seems to be aware that she is in the hospital, however they are not telling her details of her condition until they remove her respirator and can breathe on her own. Once she is given the details, the family wishes for a hospital counselor to be available to help Copeland, as losing a limb is emotionally upsetting and difficult for young people to handle.
"There is a process that they go through, a grief process," said Dr. Nadine Kaslow, chief psychologist at Grady Hospital in Atlanta. "There is shock, disbelief, anger, sadness and then a period of reconciling one to the situation and healing and figuring out how they are going to move forward in their life."
Copeland obtained rare infection known as necrotizing fasciitis after she got a deep cut on May 1 when her zip line broke over the rocks in the Little Tallapoosa River. The wound was closed with about 24 staples; however it became infected in a few days. On May 4, she was diagnosed with the rare disease and flown to Augusta for special treatment. Copeland is facing a long recovery from her amputation, failure of the kidney, and organ damage which was caused by the infection.
"She's going to be here for months," Copeland's father said. "She's going to need to regrow skin that was removed. She's going to need to learn to use prosthetics. She's going to still be on dialysis for a while."
After minor cuts and scratches, infections caused by flesh-eating bacteria cut off blood flow to parts of the body, which destroys muscle, fat, and skin tissue. Affected areas usually have to be surgically removed in order to save the patient's life. The bug, called Aeromonas hydrophila, is found in warm waters and don't usually affect people. Only a handful of infections caused by flesh-eating Aeromonas have been reported in medical journals in the past years.
Kara Dermo, a chemistry student who worked with Copeland at the Sunnyside Cafe, said that the smallest amount of good news is enough to raise the hopes of Copeland's fellow students and friends.
"It's very close to home. It makes you realize anything could happen at any time," Dermo said.
© 2012, Distributed by NEWS CONSORTIUM.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
Keywords: flesh-eating bacteria, bug, rare, young, amputate
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