After 20 hours of surgery, more than 20 surgeons, nurses and other medical professionals in a Boston hospital have given Charla Nash the new face she has waited for for more than two years.
Nash was mauled by a chimp in February 2009 at her friend’s Stamford home. The pet chimp, named Travis, destroyed Nash’s eyes, ears, nose and mouth. It left her permanently blind. Doctors said it was a miracle Nash even survived.
Soon after the attack, Nash was moved from a local hospital to the famed Cleveland Clinic, known for performing the first successful face transplant. At that time, it seemed that a face transplant for Nash was a last resort.
In May 2010, Nash was moved from Ohio to Boston, where she was closer to her Stamford home and her teenage daughter, Briana.
At Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston, Nash received the long-sought-after face transplant. Fourteen surgeons spent 20 hours working to give her the new face. She also received a hand transplant but doctors had to remove the hands when complications arose and she came down with pneumonia and the hands failed to thrive.
Nash told doctors she is looking forward to hamburger. Now that she has teeth, she will be able to enjoy the foods she has been unable to eat for so long. Her brother Steve said there is a hotdog stand that the family loves and she is looking forward to hotdogs and pizza.
When exactly the transplant happened has not been revealed to protect the family of the donor.
Nash has not revealed her new face to the world, but her family has seen the new Charla.
“She looks fantastic. You'd never believe that something like that could be done,” Nash’s daughter, Briana, said.
It's still hard to tell how much Nash will look liker her old self because her face is swollen, Briana said. The face is taking to her facial structure, Briana said.
Doctors said Nash will not look like the donor, but she will look different than she did before.
Charla wants to be independent and this is a big step for her mother’s recovery, Briana said.