The young Georgia woman fighting a rare flesh-eating bacterial infection has finally been told that she will lose both her hands and remaining foot, and responded by saying “Let’s do this.”
Aimee Copeland’s father describes the conversation he and had to have with his daughter on Thursday when he broke the news to her about her serious condition, in a post on Facebook.
Doctors had previously hoped that they would only have to amputate the Aimee’s fingers and could save her palms, which had been purple, were slowly healing and turning pink.
But on Thursday, doctors saw that the palms which had returned to “their splotchy purplish coloration” and were “hampering Aimee's recovery” and told her family of the devastating news that they will need to amputate her hands to ensure her survival.
"The hands were endangering Aimee's progress. As always, my decision was simple," he writes in an entry posted Friday.
"Do whatever it takes to give us the best chance to save Aimee's life."
Afterwards he told the news to his 24-year-old daughter, who had already lost her left leg to the infection.
“I took Aimee's hands and held them up to her face. She didn't draw back in horror. She knew the condition she was in,” he wrote.
She nodded as he explained the diagnosis given by her doctors, and when he asked whether she had any questions, Aimee mouthed to him, “I'm a little confused, but I'll figure it out,” he writes.
Her father, mother Donna and sister Paige then explained to her how she would eventually be fitted with artificial limbs to help her get around and perform normal daily functions.
"She smiled and raised her hands up, carefully examining them. She then looked at us. We all understood her next three words," he writes. “‘Let’s do this.'"
"A tear rolled down my face as I walked out of her room. I wasn't crying because Aimee was going to lose her hands and foot, I was crying because, in all my 53 years of existence, I have never seen such a strong display of courage. Aimee shed no tears, she never batted an eyelash. I was crying because I am a proud father of an incredibly courageous young lady," he wrote.
Doctors had previously labeled her chances of survival as “slim to none,” according to a message Aimee’s father, had posted on Facebook, but the family has remained optimistic after a neurologist and cardiopulmonologist have said that there appeared to be no damage to the brain or irreversible damage to the lungs, which were previously under attack.
Aimee had been kayaking along the Little Tallapoosa River in Carrollton, Georgia, on May 1 when she stopped to take a ride on a home-made zip line. The line had snapped and she suffered a large cut on her left calf, which took 22 staples to close.
Doctors had initially told her to take Motrin and Tylenol for the pain, and after being turned away from doctors who gave her nothing more than some antibiotics and pain killers, they were horrified to discover that aggressive flesh-eating aeromonas hydrophila bacteria had invaded her leg injury and were quickly invading the rest of her body.
Doctors had diagnosed her with "necrotizing fasciitis," a rare but severe bacterial infection caused by a flesh-eating bug that releases toxins that cut off blood flow to parts of the body, and can destroy skin, fat and muscle, and were forced to amputate her whole left leg after they realized that her deadly infection had already spread to her thigh and hip
She had been flown to Joseph M. Still Burn Center in Augusta where surgeons performed a high-hip amputation of her left leg and removed other infected tissue from her abdomen.