Flesh-Eating Infection Victim Gets Bionic Hands

A metro Atlanta woman who lost both her hands, right foot and left leg after being attacked by a flesh-eating infection has been fitted with prosthetic hands.

The rare disease is called necrotizing fasciitis. Aimee Copeland, 25, got the disease after falling off a zip line and injuring her leg in May 2012. As part of her recovery, Copeland spent two months at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, where she learned how to eat, bathe and move without prosthetics.

Now, however, Copeland has prosthetic hands courtesy of Touch Bionics which she will be able to move through arm positions and muscle movements.

"All four days she sent us videos of things she could do," Copeland's father said. "The second day she was moving water between cups. On the third day she was cutting a cucumber. On the fourth day she was doing more typical things, like applying makeup to her face and more personal things."

"It feels amazing," Copeland said. "The other (artificial) arms I had didn't feel like an extension of my body."

Copeland is the first woman in the world who had both upper limbs amputated to have the new iLimb ultra revolution prosthetic hands. The hands cost around $100,000 each but Copeland received them for free by serving as a Touch Bionics ambassador. Copeland is a West Georgia graduate student and has already returned to studying for a master's degree in humanistic psychology.

"I really want to start cooking," Copeland said. "So I really want to be able to maybe make myself a yummy veggie pie or something for myself when I get home, maybe knit a hat or something."

Copeland returned home on Friday May 17.

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