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Early Stages of Mersa,M RSA, Aimee Copeland's Brave Fight of Flesh Eating Bacteria, Necrotizing Faciitis

Updated on August 7, 2017
nancynurse profile image

I am a wife, mother, Nana and Christian first. I graduated from UNCC with a BSN in Nursing and a minor in Psychology.

Aimee Copeland ready to see outdoors and face the flash of cameras for the first time since her life changing accident.
Aimee Copeland ready to see outdoors and face the flash of cameras for the first time since her life changing accident. | Source


Today August 23m Aimee returned home. Her home had been adapted so she could continue to live as normally as possible. She has such tenacity I feel she will do awesome!

Aimee Copeland

Aimee leaving hospital preparing to enter rehap
Aimee leaving hospital preparing to enter rehap

Aimee's Copeland's Own Webpage

Aimee Copeland has been battling necrotizing faciitis for approximately 30 days now. She has lost both legs and hands and nearly died. Read her amazing story to learn more. Here is a link to her own personnel link


On June 4, 2012 sweet, brave Aimee Copeland was ready to smile for the cameras. it has been a long battle against narcotizing fasciitis through which she lost both hands and her left leg to amputation in order to save her life from the life threatening bacteria. She is a woman of great courage and has vowed to walk on December 2012 to receive her college diploma

Aimee Copeland

Aimee is doing better today . She has been able to get up in a chair and thoroughly enjoyed the visit of national recording star Coree Durkin gave her a private concert. She did lose both of her hands and is fighting infections in her lungs but her family rejoices every time she opens her eyes or mouths some words. She is truly a miracle story.

You can only imagine how it would feel for a healthy young women to find herself in a matter of days without one leg and both feet and hands. She appears to be a fighter though as only last weekend she was not expected to live. Hopefully that desire to live and the love of her friends and family will bring her through this horrifying ordeal whole once again.

Aimee and her family believe in the power of prayer and the support they have gotten through prayer and love has meant a tremendous amount to them.

Amazingly she fought taking pain medication in the early stages during dressing changes ,etc but the disease got so bad she had to give into the need for some kind of relief, She is an amazing young lady!!!

Photos Of Flesh Eating Bacteria.

Necrotizing Fascitis of women after she cut her finger.
Necrotizing Fascitis of women after she cut her finger.
Signs of early stages of disease
Signs of early stages of disease
Medical treatment to heal wounds with sterile larvae
Medical treatment to heal wounds with sterile larvae | Source

Necrotizing Fasciitis

Notice photos to the right side showing early stages of the disease!!!

Flesh eating bacteria or Necrotizing soft tissue infection (necrotizing fasciitis) is usually caused by A beta-hemolytic streptococci. This is the same bacteria that causes strep throat, rheumatic fever and impetigo. Other forms of bacteria, both aerobic and anaerobic can also cause this disease as was the case of Aimee Copeland, a 24 year old West Georgia student that suffered a gash in her leg while zip-lining across a river she had been tubing in earlier in the day

Aimee's infection was caused by Aeromonas hydrophila. This form of bacteria is often found in dark, brackish water. It is often ingested through swallowing causing diarrhea but entered the skin in Aimee's leg through her cut.

Healthy individuals are as prone to this illness as anyone else although those of us with a weakened immune system are more likely to succumb to the illness. What begins superficially just below the fascia moves deeper to the soft tissue of the fat and muscle below the skin.

The parts of the body most affected by this infection are the abdomen and limbs. In Aimee's case her leg became infected after she her wound had been stapled close.

This bacteria lives everywhere and we may often have it in a small cut with no further incidence. When it does move on to the more dangerous stages the skin around the cut may become red, hot to the touch, have red streaks and ooze with pus. There is often a good deal of increased pain and the patient will feel physically ill all over as if she has the flu with possible fever, nausea, vomiting, dizziness and general malaise.

The faster the treatment the better. The doctors will probably start the patient out on a strong broad spectrum antibiotic moving to iv gamma globulin and sometimes hyperbaric chambers preserve tissue.

MRSA OR Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus

MRSA sometimes called Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus because of it's resistance to the antibiotic Methicillin.

MRSA is especially prevalent in nursing homes and hospitals because of the amount of patients with infections, catheters, and open wounds. Many patients have a decreased resistance to infection because of their illnesses.

Staphylococcus aureus lives in and around our nasal cavities but it is when it enters cuts and wounds that the problems begin.

These infections have become more difficult to treat because of their resistance to many different kinds of antibiotics. This is why it is so important to get treatment rapidly and to use good hygiene techniques, hand washing, keeping open wounds covered and clean.

Early signs

See the beginning of Cellulitis  of the leg. Knowing the early symptoms  and how to treat is one of our best defenses
See the beginning of Cellulitis of the leg. Knowing the early symptoms and how to treat is one of our best defenses

How long have these bacteria been around

MRSA is often seen in IV drug users but it is cause by the staphylococcus aureus bacteria. Flesh eating bacteria has also been called gangrene.

With any form of flesh eating bacteria amputation is often necessary to avoid further spread to other healthy parts of the body and to prevent sepsis or contamination of the entire blood stream which can rapidly lead to death.

The Bacteria have been around for many years. During the civil world men dies of skin wounds causing a form of flesh eating bacteria.

As our arsenate of antibiotics becomes less effective to various bacteria these disease are getting more serious. This is one reason antibiotics should not be overused when a patient only has a virus not treatable by antibiotics such as the common cold or flu.


This disease has now become a problem in prisons, pediatric settings, livestock industry and athletic areas. Some people are nasal carriers of the illness and in the UK some hospitals do routine screening of patients prior to admission. A study of 1300 children in the US found 2.4% to be carriers. Three studies by the health department of Texas found the infection rate among football players to be 18 times the national average.*

MRSA presents itself quickly. A patient may first see a small rash or raised bumps around an affected area. This grows quickly and within 48 to 72 hours without treatment. The bumps become large boils that open up into wounds and spread to nearby tissue. Soon it becomes very difficult to treat.

Alcohol has been found effective in cleaning contaminated areas before an infection can take hold. Any infected boils should be cleaned with phisohex or hibiclean and covered with a protective. dressing. Bactroban ointment has been effective. It is important to note that hydrogen peroxide and bacitracin have also been effective against the bacteria strain.

In hospital settings using hydrogen peroxide vapor has become a superior way to clean clinical areas and patient rooms.

For hand cleaning alcohol based cleaners, phisohex, hibiclens and providone-iodine have been evaluated with the iodine mixture working the best.

People at higher risk for developing MRSA are the elderly, children, people with compromised immune system, health care workers, pet owners, veterinarians, inmates, athletes, IV drug users, and those who live in crowded and especially unclean living areas.

It is so important for health care personal to properly dispose of paper gown and definitely wash hands well between patines.

In homes laundry should be done with detergent mixed with tea tree oil as well as using tea tree oil on hard would flooring.

Toilet seats, handles, faucets, light switches should all be cleaned with an alcohol based disinfectant. Spray disinfectant can also be helpful. People should avoid sharing towels, razors, and other personal items used by others. Prior to entering public pools and hot tubs showers are recommended.

MRSA is more often seen on crowded Florida Beaches and the West Coast Beaches.

Overuse of antibiotics has been touted as a cause for the new antibiotic resistant strains.*

Aimee Today

Aimee is doing very well. She is working on her master's in Psychology at West Georgia University .

What MRSA looks Like

A MRSA Boil on leg
A MRSA Boil on leg | Source


You can do several things to prevent acquiring these infections. Never share bar soap, razors or towels of others. Cover any suspicious areas to prevent cross-contamination. Wash your hands frequently. Wipe of exercise equipment before and after use.

If you suspect you have an infected area see a doctor immediately. Signs are rash, swelling, pain, pus, red streaks, and pain. As mentioned previously these bacteria move quickly once in the body. The staph bacteria is found normally in and around the nose area so try to keep your hands free from touching your nose and then other parts of your body. Always wash your hands well and use common since and good hygiene.

Maggot Therapy

Recent studies have been done using sterile Maggots to heal dead and infected tissue of people suffering from MRSA or even severe infections of hand and feet caused by poor circulation from diabetes. The maggots are raised in a sterile environment and put on the patients infected wound in the early stages of the the insects life. It happily feeds on the diseased tissue and within several hours is removed and replaced with younger maggots. Doctors have seen dramatic results and patients say it is painless and has little feeling. See photo of therapy above.

Photos of MRSA and Flesh Eating Bacteria

Notice the redness radiating from around the initial infection.
Notice the redness radiating from around the initial infection. | Source
Again this patient has diffuse swelling and redness radiating from around the area of the initial infection.
Again this patient has diffuse swelling and redness radiating from around the area of the initial infection. | Source

Hyperbaric Treatment

A hyperbaric chamber or HBO, first developed during WW1 for treatment of divers experiencing decompression illness.HBOT causes the patient to be able to take in 100% oxygen which accelerates activity of antibacterials and white blood cells speeding up the healing process.


These kinds of infections can be prevented in many cases by judicious hand washing especially in health care settings. Cleaning wounds well and applying broad spectrum antibacterial cream to the area, and using general good hygiene to prevent the breakdown of healthy tissues. Dry feet and hands well with a clean towel after washing, Try to prevent the blisters by wearing well fitting shoes and avoid touching anyone already contaminated with strep infection. Cross contamination within health care settings has become a world wide problem


The CDC estimates that there are only about 11,500 cases of flesh eating bacteria in the us a year and only about 1,000 to 1,800 result in death ( The Los Angeles Times)


Thanks to PubMed, Mayo Clinic, CDC, MedicineNet, eMedicineHealth, Los Angeles Times, Wikipeadia

© 2012 Nancy McClintock


Submit a Comment

  • Health Card profile image

    Evie Dawson 4 years ago

    Thanks for sharing.. Natural supplements are effective treatments to support healing and balance the nutrients in the body at the same time.

  • profile image

    Get healthy 4 years ago

    She is a beautiful girl. I wish her the best!

    Garlic and coconut oil are powerful antivirals and antimicrobials.

  • profile image

    The Garlic Bath Co. 5 years ago

    For those suffering from MRSA, there are very effective natural remedies available. A garlic extract, called Allicin, is a natural antimicrobial and it kills methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and all forms of staph, 100%. This is scary stuff and an epidemic on every continent. Learn more and protect yourself.

  • nancynurse profile image

    Nancy McClintock 5 years ago from Southeast USA

    This is an awesome story. You should share it with others in the medical profession. I am very impressed with ivory soap film keeping the infection down. Did you think of this yourself?

  • profile image

    Kevin 5 years ago

    Flesh eating disease.

    When I was in Africa I ran into a girl who had a Flesh eating disease all over her right arm, the top of her chest, and halfway down her back. I asked the villagers if she had seen a Doctor, and they said yes, she had gone to several Doctors but there was no cure for the disease. I asked what would happen to her? And they said that the disease would soon spread down her chest and eat through her stomach, and her guts would burst open and she would die. I said O my God we need to try to do something to help her!

    I had brought some medicine with me from the U.S. in case I got sick in the middle of nowhere. So I gave her some Bactrin which is an anti-biotic similar to Penicillin, and a bar of Ivory Soap. I told her that the Bactrin would help fight the disease on the inside, while the Soap would fight the disease on the outside.

    I explained to her that there were little tinny bugs inside the scabby disease that were eating through her skin, and that she needed to try to soak off in water as much of the scabby disease as possible. Then put a little bit of water on top of the bar of Ivory Soap and rub it to make a paste, and dab the paste on the raw open wounds. I told her that it would burn like hell for a minute or so, but then it would start to feel much better. I told her to leave the soap on the wounds all the time to keep them from getting infected, and to wash it off and apply new soap twice a day.

    I had to leave to work on a dam project, but 8 weeks later I returned to her village and it had killed the disease. You could see the new skin on her back and there was no ugly scaring or discoloration of skin.

  • nancynurse profile image

    Nancy McClintock 5 years ago from Southeast USA

    So glad you got treatment quickly. Thanks so much for reading and commenting also.

  • nancynurse profile image

    Nancy McClintock 5 years ago from Southeast USA

    I know she seems to have a great support system. Thanks for commenting . I know our prayers will help.

  • nancynurse profile image

    Nancy McClintock 5 years ago from Southeast USA

    Thanks so much for commenting. You are so right. As a nurse I have become so much more aware of the importance to prevent cross contamination also .

  • ptosis profile image

    ptosis 5 years ago from Arizona

    Isn't this the lady who is refusing medications for religious reasons? MRSA is something you get at the hospital. My mom go it from a biopsy.

    Always thought it was from being filthy - but that's not true. I had a perfectly fine finger - until I went to the ATM in Chinatown Honolulou, . In ten minutes, by the time I walked home from the ATM - I had a blister where the fingernail/skin was. In four hours it was past my first knuckle and on it's way to the second knuckle. I went to ER for antibiotics and I didn't lose a fingernail.

  • nancynurse profile image

    Nancy McClintock 5 years ago from Southeast USA

    You are so right . Thanks for sharing. I can't imagine her pain.

  • Ionizer2012 profile image

    Ionizer2012 5 years ago from Kirkland, WA

    These types of illnesses keep me over protective of myself while in the hospital.

  • handymanbill profile image

    Bill 5 years ago from western pennsylvania

    Wow this is good information to have. I hope that everything works out better for her. Who would think that this could happen. My thoughts go with her.

  • Redberry Sky profile image

    Redberry Sky 5 years ago

    Such a sad story about Aimee, and such an ordeal ahead of her, my thoughts go out to her and her family. Terrifying to think that these and other bugs lurk in so many places.

  • nancynurse profile image

    Nancy McClintock 6 years ago from Southeast USA

    I know it breaks my heart. I remember my daughter getting impetigo so many years ago. Thankfully antibiotic were so much more effective then.

  • Kathleen Cochran profile image

    Kathleen Cochran 6 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

    Thank you for giving us more information on this subject. Who would ever have thought something like this was possible? Here in Atlanta, we use the Chattahoochee River for recreation without a thought that something so terrible could happen.

    My heart goes out to this young woman and her family also. Thanks again for the information.

  • nancynurse profile image

    Nancy McClintock 6 years ago from Southeast USA

    I agree I started to pray for her as soon as I heard. She has so much work ahead of her.

  • copywriter31 profile image

    James Ranka 6 years ago from Port Neches

    This young lady is so beautiful, and my heart goes out to her. I cannot imagine the physical and emotional agony she is now enduring. Good information.


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