Flesh-eating disease victim gets prosthetic hands

This image released by Disney-ABC Domestic Television shows host Katie Couric, right, applauding as Aimee Copeland, 24, of Snellville, Ga., who survived a rare fleshing-eating disease, as she arrives for an exclusive interview on the new daytime talk show "Katie," Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012, in New York. Copeland walked to the stage using a new walker. Copeland was joined in New York by her parents and sister. After Couric interviewed the family, she announced that an Atlanta-area Chevrolet dealer was in the studio to give Copeland a new minivan that will be retrofitted so she can drive it. Copeland got the infection in May after falling from a zip line and gashing her leg. Doctors had to amputate both hands, her left leg and right foot. She returned home to suburban Atlanta last week after three months in the hospital and a rehabilitation clinic. (AP Photo/Disney-ABC Domestic Television, Ida Mae Astute)
May 18, 2013 8:06:00 AM PDT
A metro Atlanta woman who lost both hands, her left leg and right foot after contracting a flesh-eating disease was on her way back from Ohio Friday after being fitted with prosthetic hands.

Aimee Copeland, 25, is returning from Hilliard, Ohio, where she was fitted with a pair of "bionic" hands with 24 programmable functions that will improve her dexterity, her father, Andy, told the Associated Press.

Copeland, of Snellville, contracted a rare infection called necrotizing fasciitis in May 2012 after falling from a zip line and gashing her leg. She spent two months at the Shepherd Center, a rehabilitation clinic in Atlanta, learning to move, eat and bathe without prosthetics.

She spent part of the week at Touch Bionics being fitted for the prosthetic hands that her father says will be controlled by her muscle movements and arm positions.

"All four days she sent us videos of things she could do," Copeland said. "The second day she was moving water between cups. On the third day she was cutting a cucumber. On the fourth day she was doing more typical things, like applying makeup to her face and more personal things."

Copeland said the hands were given to Aimee in exchange for her serving as a Touch Bionics ambassador. He said Aimee is likely to begin looking for a prosthetic leg with a computer-controlled knee joint to allow for more natural movement than a mechanical one.

"I just really look forward to her regaining her confidence about certain things she's been unable to do," Copeland said, "Really I just want to see her enjoying life the way that she should."

Among other things, Copeland said, the prosthetic hands will help his daughter learn to prepare meals from scratch, which she enjoyed doing before the amputations.


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