“How’s that for only four full days of rehab?” Andy Copeland posted on his Facebook page Saturday. “Yeah, I’m beaming from ear to ear right now.”
Aimee Copeland, 24, is at an undisclosed inpatient rehabilitation center, where she was taken after being discharged July 2 from the Joseph M. Still Burn Center at Doctors Hospital in Augusta.
She spent nearly two months in the hospital following a May 1 accidenton a homemade ziplineover the Little Tallapoosa River near Carrollton that caused a deep gash in her left leg. She developed necrotizing fasciitis, commonly called “flesh-eating bacteria.” The disease resulted in the need to amputate her left leg, right foot and both hands.
Andy Copeland said in his Facebook blog that his original estimation of $150,000 for Aimee’s prosthetics may have been too conservative.
“Aimee will require a set of body-powered limbs and a set of myo-electric limbs,” he said in his Saturday posting. “She will also require ongoing fittings for the ever-changing condition of her amputated limbs, which is required for continued comfort. I have pleaded with our insurance company to extend the coverage of prosthetics beyond the stingy $50,000 that is allowed under our medical plan. Surely they realize that there are not a plethora of quad-amputees in existence and that Aimee’s extraordinary condition requires extraordinary care and coverage.”
In his posting, Andy Copeland thanked everyone for the blood donations in Aimee’s honor and all the fundraising activities and donations.
“These donations will ensure that Aimee will have the best medical care without having to live with the weight of unpaid medical bills,” he said. “For that, we thank you more than you will ever know.”
When Copeland left the hospital last week, she expressed a desire to use her recovery time to work on her thesis so that she can receive her master’s degree in psychology at the University of West Georgia’s December graduation ceremony.
Don Rice, chairman of the UWG Psychology Department, said Monday that Copeland should have no problems completing her research and writing the thesis, despite the requirements of library research.
“A lot of research can be done online,” Rice said. “If she has any specific reference need, I’m sure there’s plenty of people here willing to get it for her.”
He said Copeland should also be able do the writing with the help of voice recognition software, known as Dragon NaturallySpeaking. The software is able to learn the nuances of an individual’s voice and translate spoken words into text.
Rice said once Copeland has completed writing her thesis, it must be approved by her graduate committee, consisting of two psychology faculty members and one external faculty member, who can be someone in another UWG department, or even another university.
“The only requirement is that the person hold credentials to sit on a graduate committee,” he said.
Once the thesis is approved by the committee, a meeting time is set for an oral defense. Rice said the defense is a public meeting, where the committee asks questions and the student has to respond.
After approval of the oral defense, the thesis is printed, bound and a copy placed in the university library. The student is then ready to receive the master’s degree during graduation ceremonies.
Rice was not sure Monday of Copeland’s thesis title since he’s not on her committee, but he said it is in the area of “ecopsychology.”
Ecopsychology studies the relationship between human beings and the natural world through ecological and psychological principles, seeking to understand how individuals connect with the natural world and assist the development of sustainable lifestyles.
Rice said UWG psychology students are planning a big fundraiser for Copeland, most likely in mid-August.