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Published: Thursday, 5/24/2012

Ga. woman battling flesh-eating disease surprises nurses, loved ones by sitting up in chair

ASSOCIATED PRESS

ATLANTA — A young Georgia woman battling a flesh-eating disease sat up in a chair, surprising nurses and loved ones, her father said.

Doctors at an Augusta hospital helped Aimee Copeland into the chair, where she sat up for five hours, her father Andy Copeland said. He wrote about Tuesday's development on his Facebook page Thursday morning.

"When the doctors put Aimee up in that chair, their expectations were to give her an hour," her wrote. "Five hours later, Aimee decided it was time to lie down. Had she been running an Olympic marathon, I think Aimee would have experienced a record-breaking, gold-medal moment."

Copeland, 24, 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.

In an interview with The Associated Press this week, Andy Copeland said he spoke with Aimee after surgeons removed her hands and "she just shrugged her shoulders and said 'it's OK,' and she smiled."

She's now able to breathe for a 24-hour period without assistance from a ventilator, her father said.

"Each breath is a victory," he said in Thursday's update. "Each heartbeat is a cause for celebration."



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