Chimp Attack Victim Needs 2 Years of Surgery

For the next two years, Charla Nash will go through surgeries as she recovers from a vicious chimp attack in Stamford in February that left her disfigured, blind and near death.

Nash, 55, lost her hands, nose, lips and eyelids on Feb. 16 when she was attacked by Travis, a 200-pound celebrity chimp belonging to Nash’s friend, Sandra Herold, who treated him like a human.

Damage to her eyes has left her blind for life, doctors said.

In an interview with the "Today Show" Tuesday, Nash's brothers said she is not interested in learning what happened to send her to the hospital.

 “The psychiatrist said she understands a lot about her injuries but she’s not interested, at this time, to find out how they occurred,” Stephen Nash, said.  
Nash is being treated at the Cleveland Clinic, the first site in the United States to perform a face transplant, where she is in critical, but stable condition. She was moved there from Stamford hospital three days after the attack.

Nash’s family members are talking to doctors about reconstructive surgery and doctors said initial surgery would be focused on her facial injuries.

Since being attacked, Nash has made significant neurological and psychological improvement and is awake and able to communicate with her family and caregivers, doctors said.

“Since day one, the brain scans and the MRIs have turned out very positive and very encouraging,” Stephen Nash said.

Nash is able to sit in a chair, listen to country music, and tell her nurses if she is cold, tired or wants to be left alone.

She moves her arms and head to help nurses when they change her bandages and may soon be moved out of an isolation room, according to her brothers.

About three weeks ago, Nash said the first word since her attack, “Lisa,” the name of her nurse at the Cleveland Clinic.

In March, Nash's family filed a lawsuit against Herold for $50 million. A hearing is scheduled for April 13. They have also set up a Web site,  with her story where people can send e-mails and make donations.

A Connecticut lawmaker said the taxpayers could be paying Nash. A memo from a state biologist warning about the chimp could prove the state was negligent, State Sen. Andrew McDonald, co-chairman of the legislative committee that handles legal claims against the state, said.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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