Chimpanzee mauling victim unveils face to world
The woman horrifically mauled by a chimpanzee shared her tragic story for the first time on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” on Wednesday, revealing what’s left of her disfigured face to viewers.
“I know that I have my forehead,” said Charla Nash, who has lived in bandages at Ohio’s Cleveland Clinic since the February incident. “It feels like just patches of tape or gauze or covering, covering my face.”
Nash, 56, lost her nose, lips, eyelids and hands in the attack at her friend’s Stamford, Conn., home. Doctors had found hair and teeth from the 200-pound chimpanzee in the bones of Nash’s face.
Nash is now blind — her eyes removed for fear of infection — and must eat through a straw. Her mouth has been reduced to a long slit and her nose area a bulbous mass of flesh grafted from her leg.
She wears a hat and veil, which Winfrey helped her remove on the show.
Still, Nash yesterday told the host she is not angry or bitter and added that she doesn’t remember the mauling and wanted to know as little about her grotesque injuries as possible. She hopes for a face transplant.
“I want to get healthy,” Nash said. “I don’t want to wake up with nightmares.”
Nash, whose family has filed a $50 million lawsuit for negligence against chimp owner Sandra Herold, was more worried about missing her teenage daughter’s prom than about strangers gawking at her face.
“People are going to say what they’re going to say anyway,” Nash said.
Herold’s attorney said the attack should be treated as a workers’ compensation claim as Nash helped care for Travis the chimp.