Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Ga. woman battling flesh-eating bacteria speaks

ATLANTA — A young Georgia woman battling a flesh-eating disease could hardly believe it when she was able to speak Sunday for the first time since she was taken to an Augusta hospital more than three weeks ago, her father said Monday.

"Hello. Whoa. Wow, my mind is blown," were Aimee Copeland's first words Sunday morning to her sister and mother, her father said in a phone interview Monday with the Associated Press. Andy Copeland was in church at the time and had to wait until a later visitation time Sunday evening to hear his daughter's voice.

The 24-year-old woman from Snellville developed necrotizing fasciitis after cutting her leg in a May 1 fall from a homemade zip line over a west Georgia river. Her left leg, other foot and both hands have been amputated.

When her father finally got into her room around 5 p.m. Sunday, he asked her how she felt. He said he was thrilled to hear her respond, "It feels weird being able to talk."

Copeland's voice is weak and raspy, her father said, but she has been joking with family, talking about her life at the hospital and asking what everyone else has been up to.

A graduate student in psychology at the University of West Georgia, Copeland contracted the rare infection days after she suffered the deep cut when the zip line snapped over rocks in the Little Tallapoosa River.

On May 4, she was diagnosed with the rare infection and flown 200 miles to Augusta for treatment by specialists at Doctors Hospital.

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