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Vegas family of flesh-eating bacteria victim considers legal action

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — A Las Vegas woman in a UMC hospital bed for months continues to fight a rare flesh-eating bacterial infection. Her family is considering taking legal action against those who they believe are responsible.

“It’s really been hard because from the beginning, we went from starting to say our goodbyes, and to see her where she’s at is amazing,” Kaelei MacFarland said.

Ashleigh Cope, 22, has been fighting a rare flesh-eating infection for nearly four months.

By her side has been her longtime friend.

“It’ been really hard for her and her family, but she’s healing, and she’s getting stronger,” MacFarland said.

Matthew Hoffmann is the attorney representing Cope’s family.

He says this all started when cope got corrective surgery at a plastic surgeon’s medical office where she experienced nausea and pain.

Hoffmann says the plastic surgeon sent Cope to a free-standing ER where she was diagnosed with sepsis, a potentially life-threatening condition caused by the body’s response to an infection.

“There are some concerns over a free-standing ER clinic that doesn’t have anywhere on-site to do surgeries or admit patients,” Hoffman said.

Cope eventually went to a hospital where she was diagnosed with the flesh-eating bacteria.

After suffering complications there, she was transferred to the University Medical Center burn unit, where she underwent 18 surgeries.

The family is seeking legal action against the surgeon and others they believe are responsible for Ashleigh’s infection.

“Safety is supposed to be the number one concern, not ensuring that a patient only goes to your hospital, and that’s probably one of the major concerns in the case,” Hoffmann said.

MacFarland says Cope is a fighter and praised the care at UMC, and she’s confident she’ll be able to see her friend eventually get out of the hospital.

“It’s going to be a long road to recovery, but she can do it,” MacFarland said.

Cope remains in serious but stable condition at UMC. Her family says she’s continuing to push through. They’ve also set up a GoFundMe page to help with medical expenses.