Nov 12, 2009

Chimp Attack Victim Unveils Horrific Injuries

Chimp Attack Victim Unveils Horrific Injuries

3:23am UK, Thursday November 12, 2009

Kirsty Donald, Sky News Online

A woman who was mauled by her friend's chimpanzee has revealed the extent of her injuries in public for the first time.

Charla Nash before and after she was attacked by a chimpanzee

Ms Nash before and after the attack Pics:

Charla Nash appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show nine months after the attack by her friend Sandra Herold's pet chimp Travis.

The animal broke most of the bones in her face and ripped off her hands, nose, lips and eyelids during the vicious assault in Stamford, Connecticut.

A large part of her scalp is missing, she only has one thumb and is fed fluids through a straw in a hole in her face specially created by doctors.

Ms Nash, who marked her 56th birthday by speaking about the incident for the first time, normally wears a veil in front of her face to cover her injuries but agreed to lift it on the programme.

"People are going to say what they're going to say," she said. "I need to move forward and get better and stronger."

She added: "I'm the one who has to look like this. Not them. So it doesn't matter what they say."

I'd like to put across to people's minds that these exotic animals are very dangerous and they shouldn't be around.

Charla Nash on The Oprah Winfrey Show

Despite her horrific injuries, Ms Nash said she was not in any pain and was glad she could not recall anything about the attack.

"I don't want to remember, because I couldn't imagine what it was like," she told Oprah. "I want to get healthy. I don't want to wake up with nightmares."

Ms Nash said Travis had always been a frightening animal and does remember a previous incident involving the chimp.

"One time he was running around the yard and swinging off the trees of the house, and he jumped on my back and he pulled a big hunk of hair out of my head," she said.

"I had tears in my eyes and [Sandra] was laughing and I told her, 'It hurts.'"

She added: "I'd like to put across to people's minds that these exotic animals are very dangerous and they shouldn't be around."

Ms Nash is looking to the future and is aiming to become a candidate for a face and hand transplant.

She has been recovering from the attack at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, the same hospital which carried out a near-total face transplant on 46-year-old Connie Culp after her husband shot her in the face.

Ms Nash is suing Ms Herold for $50m over the chimp attack.


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