While his daughter fights a rare and devastating bacterial infection at the Joseph M. Still Burn Center at Doctors Hospital, Andy Copeland has faith it will mean an incredible outcome.
“Everything about this is extraordinary, the response from the people around the world,” he said, after having heard from relatives in Australia that Aimee Copeland’s plight made the news there.
The University of West Georgia graduate student is battling necrotizing fasciitis, sometimes called flesh-eating bacteria, which already has claimed her left leg and likely will claim her hands and her other foot from lack of circulation, her parents said. She is in kidney failure, receiving dialysis and is breathing through a ventilator, the family said.
Her doctors previously gave the family odds of “slim to none” for survival, Andy Copeland said, but the family believes she is getting better, she is responding to commands and is coming out of her sedation.
“Her chances are slim, but they are improving,” he said.
“I know that Aimee has a great purpose going forward, and I know that she is going to make it. She has got my absolute faith in that.”
Her older sister, Paige, said Aimee shook her head when asked whether she was in pain. Aimee loves yoga, meditation and nature, so her sister asked her to close her eyes and imagine they had just climbed a mountain and were looking out at a beautiful orange-and-pink sunset while bald eagles flew overhead.
“We’re just taking in all of the positive energy that nature has,” Paige Copeland said, fighting back a sob. “I said just take in all of that positive energy and use it, use it to breathe and just focus on your breathing just like you’re meditating.”
The family is relying on a strong Christian faith to guide them through and aid her recovery, the father said.
“I believe that there is nothing more powerful in this world than the power of prayer,” he said. “When we get people all joined together for a singular purpose, amazing things happen.”
Aimee Copeland is still in critical condition and will likely face months of recovery, he said. Her mother, Donna, is dreading the talk they will have to have.
“Someday we’re going to have to tell her, when she wakes up, that she’s like this,” she said. “I know we’ll get through this. God is good, and he’s going to bring this all around.”
Aimee was working on her master’s degree in psychology, and her father believes God will help her use this experience to help others.
“Now she is a living testament for what pain and suffering is all about,” he said. “People will really be tuned into her message. My daughter’s mind will be saved because the gift of this child exists in her heart and in her mind. That is what I praise God for right now.”
Shepeard Community Blood Center will hold a replacement blood drive at the University of West Georgia on Tuesday, but the family and Shepeard officials urged others locally to give blood that she and other patients will use in their recovery.