A medical home makeover begins
July 3rd, 2012
11:14 AM ET

A medical home makeover begins

Editor's note: Flesh-eating bacteria almost killed Aimee Copeland. Now, after two months in the hospital, she's moving to a rehab facility to continue her recovery. Erin Burnett talks to the 24-year-old's parents about their daughter’s ordeal and her inspirational attitude, tonight at 7 p.m. ET on CNN.

Aimee Copeland, the 24-year-old Georgia woman who lost most of her hands, one of her legs and her remaining foot after a flesh-eating bacteria infection, now faces the daunting task of learning how to live her life without her full limbs.

Aimee was released from the hospital Monday and has started physical therapy near her home in Snellville, Georgia. Her father, Andy, says the therapy will take six to eight weeks.

In the meantime, Andy and his wife, Donna, are rapidly giving the house Aimee has lived in since she was 6 years old a medical home makeover.

The Copelands are adding an entire new addition off the back of their house. When Aimee returns, the house will be nearly twice as large and newly equipped for her special needs.

The renovation plans include access ramps, an elevator to the home's second floor, an exercise room Aimee will use to continue her recovery, guide rails in the bathroom, and a separate wash sink Aimee can use to clean her prosthetics.

The plans were only drawn up in the last 12 days. They were drafted with input from Aimee while she recovered in an intensive care unit.

Such a demanding project could cost as much as $200,000. The roof—a huge part of the cost—is being donated, as are some supplies from Home Depot, Andy said.

A wrecking crew started the renovation Tuesday by demolishing a two-story porch deck where the new addition will go.

One thing workers are hoping to save is a fig tree that Aimee is fond of. The tree was originally from her great-grandfather's farm, and grows right alongside a portion of the house that is being torn down.

Related: Surviving a flesh-eating disease

soundoff (187 Responses)
  1. thenana

    For real guys!? How can you bicker back and forth over how Aimee is recovering, being restored, has money or doesn't? Grow up! This young woman has been through a life versus death situation and has survived to tell about it. Thank God for her survival and may He bring the strength she will need to continue to improve each day. However the family is providing for the house's medical makeover is no business of ours. Prayers and Best Wishes to Aimee and her family!

    July 3, 2012 at 16:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jessica


      July 3, 2012 at 17:11 | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      Uh...yeah...thank God. Let's also thank God for causing this to happen to her in the first place.

      July 3, 2012 at 17:16 | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      Agreed. It's a real shame this happened to someone so young and beautiful, best wishes to her.

      July 3, 2012 at 17:32 | Report abuse |
    • JS

      People don't think anymore in this country. They just feed their impulses, one tweet and one treat at a time. "The Great American Retard Tragedy."

      July 3, 2012 at 17:41 | Report abuse |
    • mm

      About 99% of what her media-loving father is pushing in the media is nobody's business but Aimee's. If she had arms, she'd probably beat him over the head.

      July 3, 2012 at 17:43 | Report abuse |
    • obedience to God

      so, so wonderful to know people like yourself still exist among us. i hope it becomes contgagious.

      pls, people remember these few words and live them: "kindness in another's trouble and courage to face our own troubles."

      July 3, 2012 at 18:04 | Report abuse |
  2. Hot Carl

    I'd still do her. I don't care, she's HOT!

    July 3, 2012 at 16:50 | Report abuse | Reply
    • enc

      "Hot Carl"- You need a life cuz!!! You would not like it if that was your sister and some idiot such as yourself
      was saying those things about her!! Maybe your mess will fall off.

      July 3, 2012 at 17:09 | Report abuse |
    • Angie

      I think she's filled her lifetime parasitic quota.

      July 3, 2012 at 17:11 | Report abuse |
    • not so fast

      what makes you think she'd give a fool the time of day?
      she's physically imparied, not DUMB!

      July 3, 2012 at 18:06 | Report abuse |
  3. ABC

    I think everyone can agree that it's wonderful news that Aimee is recovering, and I think most people can agree that it is a blessing that this family has the means (even partially) to completely renovate their home for their daughter. What I think is behind some of the negativity is the fact that a portion of us don't understand why thiswas ever national news and why we're still hearing about it over 2 months later. As someone indicated, there are other individuals that have had necrotizing fasciitis, and many people who have lost limbs due to accidents of some sort. The reason this is a national story is because Aimee is a very attractive young blond Caucasian woman (I'm white, and don't generally bring up the race card), and because she has a father who has spent the entire time she has been in the hospital blogging about what's taking place. There is nothing inherent in the story that makes it nationally relevant or that requires constant updating, and the ability to renovate a home at a cost of $200K, even with donations, is not something that most people can even contemplate. Putting in some ramps and rails would be the extent of it for most folks. I do wish Aimee and her family the best, and it's wonderful that her community has rallied behind her. However, I think we're done now, so let's move on to the next story.

    July 3, 2012 at 16:51 | Report abuse | Reply
    • RLP


      July 3, 2012 at 16:57 | Report abuse |
    • Tom

      "very attractive"

      nice try at squeezing that in....

      July 3, 2012 at 17:16 | Report abuse |
    • Stuff

      Well, I once saw this guy who lost both his one arm and both his legs in war. Even though it's great that she's recovering, I think every war hero who died or suffered should receive the attention instead of her.

      July 3, 2012 at 17:20 | Report abuse |
    • mm

      What a blessing..and thank God for her dad needing to push himself in the news by disclosing all the personal details of his daughter's illness & treatments to complete strangers for their entertainment. Such a righteous man..

      July 3, 2012 at 17:42 | Report abuse |
    • Frankie

      I too wish her the very best, but I will agree that the reason this is getting so much attention is because she's is WHITE. Rest assured, if she had been a dark skinned woman, we would'nt have heard anything about the story. This furiates me about the media. White folks just don't realized how priviledged they have it. Stay tuned for the LIFETIME movie too. Again, I wish Aimee the best, but let's cover a story about someone else of color, PLEASE!!!

      July 3, 2012 at 17:42 | Report abuse |
    • jasonclayton

      most of what is national news these days is a joke. I have been following this tragedy because I have three daughters and to think what could happen with just normal activity going wrong is scary. I admire this father for his love and strength for his daughter and family. He started a facebook so friend and family could keep up with what was going on and then like may things these days it went viral. He is a shining example of a great father and if my daughter just had all of this happen to her I would attempt to do the same things. She has a long road ahead of her and she has a loving supportive family to help her get back to her new normal.

      This is a beautiful family and I love them and hope they continue to do better. So many people have such poor outlooks on everyting these days it seems so normal for them to criticize people who are this good.

      July 3, 2012 at 18:00 | Report abuse |
    • ABC

      jasonclayton – Yes, what passes for national news is a joke. And as said, I don't think anyone (except idiots) is not happy that she is doing well. However, anyone who views the situation objectively has to see that 2 months of regular updates about one girl who got an infection by ziplining (in and of itself an activity that brings some risk) does not seem like a worthy journalistic endeavor. As a human being, I think "that's great...I'm really happy she's going to make it", and as a parent, I can imagine how full of joy her parents must be to have gotten to this stage in the recovery process. However, I'm also a person who tries to be an observer of people and life, and analyze situations for my own understanding, so as a person who reads the news, I think "Hmm, what's driving this story, especially for this length of time". Every day, someone somewhere is struggling against a disease, fighting for life, and they are not profiled on CNN, Fox News, or anywhere else, and certainly not followed daily or every other day for 2 months. That's all I'm saying. It doesn't make me a bad person, and it doesn't mean I have ill will towards anyone, nor that I have time on my hands, or no concern for others. It's just an observation and evaluation of the journalistic part of the equation.

      July 3, 2012 at 18:24 | Report abuse |
  4. RLP

    I am glad she is on the road to recovery but I do wonder about others who are not as lucky. I hope all these people who helped will help others that may not look like her but are in the same situation. People seem to help people much better who look like a movie star than people who are considered ordinary.

    July 3, 2012 at 16:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Hot Carl

    I had the flesh eating virus once, now I'm just a head on a table in front of the TV. Move me over to the window, will ya?

    July 3, 2012 at 16:56 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tom

      comment of the day!

      July 3, 2012 at 17:14 | Report abuse |
    • Bob Lieberman

      Just ran across your comment! I needed that. Funniest godamn comment in a long time.

      July 3, 2012 at 19:09 | Report abuse |
  6. whatever

    whatever you do, avoid a collision with a car insured by Geico. chances are, Geico will pay you no more than $5000 even if your fancy car is totaled. you're warned!

    July 3, 2012 at 17:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. McIver3

    My brother in law almost died of necrotizing fasciitis and still suffers horribly from the after effects, 2 years later. Because the hospital had problems with removing the colostomy and reconnecting him, his stomach sticks out like a huge beach ball. He has no stomach muscles to protect his stomach. He works part-time to makes end meet. He had no insurance when it happened so the bill collectors are after him all the time. Amy is lucky to have the means to have a home remodeled. My brother in law can't even find a lawyer to help him.

    July 3, 2012 at 17:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Kevin

    I have sympathy for this girl and her family, but seriously, does she has to be on headline day after day, week after week???

    July 3, 2012 at 17:05 | Report abuse | Reply
    • mm

      Daddy is working hard for his limelight in the news, Kevin. I think he has a touch of that flesh eating virus in his brain.

      July 3, 2012 at 17:40 | Report abuse |
  9. Glen

    Isn't this the point where coverage of this story ends? In addition to the rest of the newly minted fake celebrities, are we now going to have a flesh eating bacteria celebrity?

    July 3, 2012 at 17:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Some Dude

    Its just a horrible mis-unfortunate situation, That just sucks all around, she is very lucky still and has a full life ahead of her. Cliché sounding but what doesn't kill you make you stronger.

    July 3, 2012 at 17:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. lasermetrologist

    Six to eight weeks of physical therapy after losing your hands, foot, and leg? I had six weeks of physical therapy after having an ACL reconstruction. I can't imagine that six to eight weeks is even approaching the level of physical therapy needed for such huge change in her body and its abilities.

    July 3, 2012 at 17:10 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Kingofthenet

      Welcome to ObamaCare

      July 3, 2012 at 17:16 | Report abuse |
  12. Kingofthenet

    Well they NEED some donations after all just the Hospital Care cost her an Arm and a Leg.

    July 3, 2012 at 17:12 | Report abuse | Reply

      Sick to see your retard comments. If this is the line of thinking that defines your very existence, it's really a pity. I really hope that you never have to go through what this brave woman and her family have faced, but I have a feeling, that the scales of natural justice will manage to get you your share.

      July 3, 2012 at 18:02 | Report abuse |
  13. lovetrave

    My heart is aches. How can people say negative thing about the family? I wouldn't count that her family was out there try to get some attention or she so beauitful. Respect the family, they are try to do all they can do to help ever if she don't want their help. She was on colleger and had frien, all of them miss her and try to help her out and her father still had friends from his days in college and they was willing to help out but NO ONE was force to do this. I wish the family nothing but happy, it change the whole family but don't feel like it anything bother you about negative and stay postiive with your love one!

    July 3, 2012 at 17:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Steve B

    Know that Aimee is happy to be home!! Her strength and the encourage of family and friends has been wonderful and a spirit for the rest of us to follow. Wishing her the very best!!

    July 3, 2012 at 17:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. some guy

    Hi Ms. Elizabeth Cohen are you related to Micky Cohen the infamous Gangster of 1940's

    July 3, 2012 at 17:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. susan

    Aimee has a beautiful spirit and outlook on life. I feel that by keeping her story in
    the news it could possibly save another from doing what Aimee did by grabbing
    a zipline anyone who read Aimee's story will hopefully think twice before doing
    so. Thanks AIMEE for showing us how to face adversity and move forward.
    Having loving and devoted family is the icing on the cake . I'M thinking about
    you You have made me want to.be more accepting and understanding of
    the people in my life.

    July 3, 2012 at 17:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. suzy

    I am sending this girl money now.

    July 3, 2012 at 17:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. chris

    How can I contribute?

    July 3, 2012 at 17:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. Frankie

    I too wish her the very best, but I will agree that the reason this is getting so much attention is because she's is WHITE. Rest assured, if she had been a dark skinned woman, we would'nt have heard anything about the story. This furiates me about the media. White folks just don't realized how priviledged they have it. Stay tuned for the LIFETIME movie too. Again, I wish Aimee the best, but let's cover a story about someone else of color, PLEASE!!!

    July 3, 2012 at 17:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Bout time

      It's always the race card, give it up... So 50 years ago.

      The father has driven the news story, and as a result will get funds to cover the long financial burden ahead, good for him.

      July 3, 2012 at 18:13 | Report abuse |
  20. Jataka

    Glad she is doing better. Sending you positive vibes Aimee. Get well soon!

    July 3, 2012 at 17:40 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. cement

    Why doesn't the hospital where she got the infection pay the $200K?

    July 3, 2012 at 17:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Bill

    To all of you who are soooo negative to Aimee "recovering" from her tremendously horrible situation.

    Try loosing your hands.
    You would not even be able to type ,remember no hands , negative comments about Aimee.
    Also, try putting yourself in this young woman's daily life, for one half of a day, or even an hour.
    Then tell everyone are the such a smart person your are.

    You have too much time on your hands, try it without hands.
    Or did the bacteria, necrotizing fasciitis, eat all the humanity , if you had any, out of your brain.
    Maybe the bacteria leave their excrement for your brain.

    At best case, I pray that Ammie with be able to to live her life to the best!
    Rest of you negative thinking losers.... get a life.
    Say something positive.
    Do not waste your time, and your life, saying negative things about other people
    that you do not even know

    July 3, 2012 at 17:57 | Report abuse | Reply

    On one hand, the courage of this young woman, the strength and support of her family, and the help from Home Depot, hospitals, and volunteers is humbling. On the other hand, one only needs to see the increasing number of retards and jerks on discussion/comments to see the downfall of once a decent country. I have decided to NOT apply for citizenship in this land of crazies and bigots, and have started the process of moving my business, and with it 981 jobs abroad. Hope the sane ones in this country grow and take control before the crazies spell the total doom to once civilized place.

    July 3, 2012 at 17:58 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Bout time

    Bout time attention is given to whites in this country, too much about travon the pot head

    July 3, 2012 at 17:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Ihateidiots******

      First of all Trayvon story has not been in the news recently hardly at all and for you to call a dead unarmed child a pothead truly shows your intelligence! So at about time it is time for punk little cowards such as yourself to stop hiding your comments in blogs and refer to the topic that is being discussed like most educated people do!

      July 8, 2012 at 15:19 | Report abuse |
  25. Bill

    Jose Cuervo
    Reference your comment July 3, 2012 at 16:13
    Use your own hand, if your have one, on your "manmeat".
    An then go spin yourself.
    Your comment was disgusting.

    Get a life

    July 3, 2012 at 18:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Bob Lieberman

    As a polio survivor from decades ago, I applaud her parents and society for honoring and being aware of people with special needs. By thrway I hate that label.

    July 3, 2012 at 19:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Rosa Michelle

    Aimee you indeed are so lucky.. Stay blessed!

    July 4, 2012 at 04:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Wow

    I can't believe what some people have written. To make jokes about this girl, is digusting! She's has been through more in 2 months thant most of us in our whole lives. For her to be so strong & positive is inspiring. Best wishes to her & to her family! Stay strong Aimee!

    July 8, 2012 at 00:20 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.