Georgia student Aimee Copeland, who contracted a flesh-eating bacteria disease, is asking for painkillers after her recent surgery that replaced patches of bacteria-consumed skin and muscle.
The 24-year-old did not want to take morphine, she told her father that she felt like “a traitor to her convictions.” However, meditation, her customary technique for pain management, was proving to be no match for the surgery that she was undergoing to patch up the wound on her groin and abdomen.
“Aimee is now taking pain medication in as liberal a dose as can be prescribed,” Copeland’s father, Andy Copeland, wrote in a blog post. “If she even dared to refuse taking it, which she wouldn’t, then the doctors would most certainly administer it in an IV drip.”
Almost seven weeks have passed since Aimee cut her calf open when she fell from a homemade zip line by the Little Tallapoosa River, which led to her contracting a flesh-eating infection that forced doctors to have to remove her hands, left leg, and right foot. In addition, her doctors removed some of her torso to prepare for her upcoming surgery.
“During the most recent skin graft, her surgeons were forced to take muscle from Aimee’s abdomen to create a flap over the iliac artery in her groin,” Andy Copeland wrote. “She says that she feels like a patchwork quilt, because her body is a collection of skin grafts and bandages.”
Skin graft transplants are performed when patients need more skin somewhere else on their body.
“We can get sheets between 10 and 12 thousandths of an inch thick,” said Dr. J. Blair Summitt, assistant professor of plastic surgery at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn. “Within two or three days, tiny little blood vessels start to grow into the graft. It’s a fairly straightforward procedure.”