Ga. student with flesh-eating disease inspires survivor's family to speak out

By: Sheli Muniz Email
By: Sheli Muniz Email
Amanda Fountain's mother, Docie, suffered from necrotizing faciitis, a flesh-eating bacteria, years ago. (WRDW-TV / May 11, 2012)

Amanda Fountain's mother, Docie, suffered from necrotizing faciitis, a flesh-eating bacteria, years ago. (WRDW-TV / May 11, 2012)

News 12 at 11 o'clock / Friday, May 11, 2012

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. -- Aimee Copeland, 24, continues the fight of her life as a rare infection eats away at her flesh.

Her father, Andy Copeland, wrote on Aimee's blog on Friday at 11 a.m.:
“Aimee is alert and trying to mouth questions. Her breathing tube has been reoriented to increase her comfort and allow them to try to read her lips. She said, 'I can’t talk!' We told her it was because of the tube, and we explained the need for it. 'Take it out!' She also asked, 'What happened?' and 'Where am I?'"

The story of her struggle is making news around the world but for one North Augusta woman, Aimee's story hits home.

Her mother had necrotizing faciitis, too, and was able to survive it.

"I was so glad I was still alive. I remember being weak, tired and in pain," Amanda Fountain read from her mother's journal.

Her mom, Dicie, documented every bit of her struggle.

Amanda continued to read, "When I woke up, I was terrified nobody in the family was there at the time."

In 2008, Dicie contracted necrotizing faciitis through an injection from the doctor.

"The next day, she was feeling pretty bad. She was complaining about not being able to walk on it, not being able to move and she just started screaming in pain," Amanda said.

Her mom had 17 surgeries in a matter of two months. The bacteria spread from her leg to her back, eating away at her flesh.

"Nobody knows what this stuff can do for you and that's why Aimee's story just touched me cause she's only what, 24? My mom was at least 47; this girl's got her whole life ahead of her," Amanda said.

When she heard Aimee's story, Amanda felt compelled to tell hers. One of hope.

"Aimee might not be responding now, she might not be showing what the family really wants her to show like, 'I'm OK, mom,' or 'I'm OK, dad,' but it's going to take time. Looking at her [mother's] notes, it took until July 24 -- she went in on the 9th."

All those days with no journal entries because Amanda's mom was unconscious.

"Looking at it now as her daughter, she's a walking miracle," Amanda said.

It's the same miracle that Aimee's family now hopes for, too.

"Don't give up hope. She can survive this. The doctors told me my mom wouldn't, and she survived," Amanda said.

Amanda's mother has since passed away. She died last fall from unrelated health problems.


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