(ATLANTA) — Aimee Copeland, the 24-year-old who lost both hands, her left leg and her right foot when she contracted a flesh-eating bacteria in April, slept in her own bed last night for the first time in months.
After spending 51 days at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta for rehabilitation, Copeland was discharged Wednesday, a spokesman for the center told ABC News.
“She was a delightful and very strong young lady, and she worked very hard while she was here,” said Larry Bowie, a spokesman for the center. “We wish her all the best, and we know she’s going to go on to do very great things.”
Bowie said Copeland made a lot of friends at the Shepherd Center. He said patients always get graduation ceremonies before they are discharged, and called Copeland’s “wonderful” and “very emotional” for everyone.
“She’s looking forward to the next chapter,” he said.
Copeland cut open her leg falling from a zip line near the Tallapoosa River nearly four months ago, allowing a deadly bacterium to enter her body. After being in and out of the emergency room with a painful wound that wouldn’t heal, doctors realized she had necrotizing fasciitis and amputated her leg from the hip.
Copeland’s recovery was touch and go. When she lost her pulse, doctors had to resuscitate her with CPR. Fearing the bacteria would spread to her blood, doctors amputated Copeland’s hands and her remaining foot.
She was released from the hospital in early July, and went to the Shepherd Center. Copeland’s father, Andy, blogged about the grueling workout routine designed to help her maneuver in and out of her wheelchair.
“During each of her physical therapy sessions, Aimee does two hundred crunches in seven minutes. Every ten crunches, Aimee is required to say a complete sentence with each repetition,” Andy wrote on the blog last month. “How many of you can do two hundred crunches in seven minutes?”
Proud of his daughter, he said in another post that it was like she was training for the Olympics.
Copeland’s Snellville home was renovated to include a 2,000-square-foot wing just for her; it includes a workout room and an elevator. The project cost about $200,000 to complete and took 25 days.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Nate Eaton, EastIdahoNews.com
Laura Smith-Spark, CNN
Emily Fonnesbeck, KSL.com
Julie Wootton, Times-News