Aimee Copeland sits up, breathes on her own

by: Manuel Bojorquez Updated:

Aimee Copeland (Family photo)

AUGUSTA, Ga. - The woman fighting a flesh-eating bacteria continues to defy odds, according to her father, who posted the latest on her condition Thursday morning on his Facebook page.
 
"Each breath is a victory," he wrote. "Each heartbeat is a cause for celebration."
 
Andy Copeland also wrote that his daughter, Aimee, though still in critical condition, has been breathing on her own for more than a day. She can also now sit up. While everyone thought she would want to lie back down after an hour, she sat up for five hours, he said.
 
"When the doctors set the bar height, she raises it," he wrote.
 
Meanwhile, a woman who survived the same condition Copeland is suffering from said it's important to raise awareness about necrotizing fasciitis, caused by bacterial infection.
 
Copeland's case involved another bacteria, aeromonas hydrophila, which she somehow contracted after cutting her leg from falling off a homemade zip line May 1.  The infection has claimed her leg, hands and likely her other foot.
 
Brenda Walker somehow got an infection after minor surgery, following the birth of her youngest son six years ago. It was a pain in her calf, which later became excruciating.
 
When she blacked out and ended up back in the hospital, it was diagnosed as necrotizing fasciitis, from a strain of staph bacteria. 
 
"It was hard to understand. It sounded sci-fi to me," Walker said.
 
The infection decayed flesh, but doctors were able to save her leg, though now it is scarred.
 
"The earlier this is caught, the earlier that they can figure out what you have, the better chance a person has of not losing limbs, not dying. Because it's so fast, it moves so incredibly fast," Walker said.
 
She acknowledges the rarity of necrotizing fasciitis cases but said people need to learn more about it.
 
"I would tell people listen to their bodies, listen to the symptoms," she said. "The symptom is excruciating pain.  There are other symptoms, but it's a pain like you've never felt."
 
As for Copeland, Walker believes that the prayer and support from the community, along with Copeland's will to fight, will get her through the ordeal.
 
"She will heal," Walker said. "I believe with all my heart that she will heal."



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