Charla Nash, the woman who had her face and hands ripped off in a horrifying attack by a pet chimpanzee has spoken publicly for the first time since she had a face transplant.
Charla Nash, 55, is single mother from Stamford, Connecticut, nearly died after the mauling in 2009.
The woman tried to catch her boss’ escaped pet ape Travis, when the 14-year-old male chimp went berserk.
The chimp attack left Charla Nash terribly disfigured, but a 20-hour operation earlier this year that involved scores of doctors has given her a new face.
Charla Nash has decided today to bravely face the cameras.
Charla Nash’s interview is part of a documentary series called Extraordinary People.
Charla Nash said: “A lot of people tell me I look beautiful and I never had anyone tell me that before.
“I look OK now and I don’t have to worry about scaring anyone.”
The chimp attack has left Charla Nash blind, but family members have been doing everything in their power to help her through her ordeal.
Charla Nash spoke of her disappointment that her hand transplant was unsuccessful, but she’s optimistic she may one day get a successful hand transplant.
Charla Nash’s recovery will take years and she will always have to take anti-rejection drugs.
One of her doctors, Bohdan Pomahac said it would be a gradual recovery.
“Nine months to a year is typically when they can control the face and smile,” Dr. Pomahac said.
Charla Nash’s twin brother, Mike said: “I saw her and I said <<wow>>. It’s amazing, the miracles of science.”
Despite her trauma, Charla Nash remains determined to lead as normal a life as possible.
“I think in the beginning, I always wondered <<why me?>>
“But then again, my whole life has not been easy but I never gave up.”
Charla Nash’s face transplant operation was carried out in May, when more than 30 surgeons, nurses and anaesthetists at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, led by Dr. Bohdan Pomanhac, worked to rebuilt her face.
The team kept the date secret to protect Charla Nash’s privacy.
The doctors took the donor’s skin, underlying muscle, nerves and upper palate and transplanted the whole face on to Charla Nash’s skull.
Charla Nash’s hands had to be removed after she developed severe complications, including kidney failure and pneumonia, which caused low circulation in the new hands.
She has hidden her face under a veil for the past two years.
Charla Nash bravely revealed her disfigured features in an interview with Oprah Winfrey just a few months after the attack, when she said:
“I wear (the veil) so I don’t scare people. Sometimes other people might insult you, so I figure maybe it’s easier if I just walk around covered up.”
The chimp that attacked Charla Nash two years ago was later shot by police. Sandra Herold, the chimp owner speculated the pet was trying to protect her and didn’t recognize Charla Nash because she had changed her hairstyle.
Sandra Herold died of an aneurysm in 2010.
Charla Nash’s family are suing her estate for $50million and wants to sue the state for $150million, saying officials failed to prevent the attack.