I couldn’t conceive of what it would be like for my daughter to lose her hands and the only other foot she has, as well, and that appears to be what is going to happen– Aimee Copeland’s Father
What is necrotizing fasciitis? The mention of this bacterial infection is often met with blank stares. However, those in the know, like Andy Copeland, will tell you of the horrific nature of the rare flesh-eating infection. Copeland’s 24 year-old daughter, Aimee, contracted the infection a few days after suffering a nasty fall off of a homemade zip line on May 1. The accident resulted in a deep gash on her left calf which required nearly two dozen staples.
Three days later, Aimee began to complain of severe pain in her leg and was rushed back to the emergency room. Aimee was quickly diagnosed with necrotizing fasciitis caused by Aeromonas hydrophila, bacteria commonly found in brackish waters, and was flown to Augusta for surgery. Unable to treat her using antibiotics, Aimee’s physicians were forced to amputate her left foot. However, the bacteria continued to spread and her hands and remaining foot now require amputation.
Copeland emphasized that while the loss of Aimee’s remaining limbs will be devastating, “the most important thing is that my daughter is still alive.” Despite the medical evidence mounted against her, Aimee continues to survive giving hope to her friends and family. According to the Huffington post, statistics vary in regards to survival rates; however, a 2007 study in the World Journal of Emergency Surgery showed that the death rate of necrotizing fasciitis caused by Aeromonas hydrophila can range anywhere from 25 to 73 percent.
The Wisconsin Department of Health services reported that there are 10,000 to 15,000 cases of necrotizing fasciitis each year in the U.S., with 2,000 to 3,000 deaths. As it is often times difficult to diagnose the infection, it carries an increased risk of death.
The World Journal of Emergency Surgery outlines the progression of the infection. According to the study, the first day of infection presents the initial symptoms: new wounds appear elsewhere on the body (even though the original wound usually does not appear infected), sensation of pain in the vicinity of the original wound and flu-like symptoms. At the three to four day mark the part of the body with the infected wound may start to swell up and dark marks and rashes may occur. The wound itself may appear to have a “bluish, white, or dark, mottled, flaky appearance.” Within four to five days, the body’s blood pressure will decrease and the person may experience septic shock. The person may also lose consciousness.
While the treatment for necrotizing fasciitis varies (depending on complications), Aimee Copeland received standard care as antibiotics and surgery was issued. In order to support Aimee and her family and create more awareness about necrotizing fasciitis visit their Facebook page and her father’s blog.
Aimee Copeland, Georgia Student, In Critical Condition While Fighting Flesh-Eating Bacteria
Zip line accident leaves Aimee Copeland with flesh-eating disease
Aimme Copeland In Critical Condition While Fighting Flesh-Eating Bacteria
Image via: MSNBC