Family upbeat about daughter plagued with flesh-eating bacteria

by: Manuel Bojorquez Updated:

Aimee Copeland

AUGUSTA, Ga. - Though Aimee Copeland remains in critical condition, and her family doesn't want to jump to conclusions, the Copelands were incredibly upbeat Wednesday afternoon.

"I feel great," said Andy Copeland, as he delivered the latest update on his daughter's condition.

He said doctors have been able to move Aimee for the first time since they had to amputate her leg, for treatments in a hyperbaric chamber.

"The purpose of the hyperbaric treatment is to put her in a pure oxygen environment that can aid in the recovery of some of the tissues in her extremeties," Mr. Copeland said.

He said doctors removed a breathing tube, but replaced it with a tracheal tube to aid her breathing.

The family said Aimee continues to show strong brain activity.

"Her intellectual capacity is 100 percent. She remembers family events, things that we've done in the past and that's very encouraging," her father said.

But for the first time, Aimee Copeland was able to see her hands, which show signs of the flesh-eating bacteria that almost killed her.

"She's seen her hands, and you know what?" Mr. Copeland said. "I would say it didn't faze her a bit and I just think that talks again about how tough she is."

She does not seem to be aware of what happened to the rest of her body.

Doctors said Copeland may still lose her fingers and possibly her other foot, but her family focuses on the positive -- that she's alive after the rare and extreme infection.

Copeland fell off a homemade zipline May 1 in Carroll County and cut her leg. The wound became infected by a bacteria commonly found in water, aeromonas hydrophila, leading to the ordeal.

The Copelands said Aimee is encouraged by the immense support she's receiving from family, friends and fellow students at the University of West Georgia.

On Tuesday, an above-capacity crowd turned out to donate blood in Aimee's name at the university's gym.

So many people came that a second blood drive at theschool has been scheduled for June 1 to accommodate them.

The blood helps not only Copeland, but other patients at the Joseph M. Still Burn Center in Augusta, where she is receiving specialized care.

"We told her about the turnout and her eyes got big," her father said. "She's really, really excited about people giving blood."