Charla Nash, the victim of a terrifying 2009 chimpanzee attack that left her horribly disfigured, has revealed her new face to “Today’s” Meredith Vieira. Nash is the recipient of just the third full face transplant performed in the United States.
Because the attack also left her blind, Nash cannot see her new face. She has been fitted with prosthetic eyes. She also cannot feel her new face; the attack left her without hands. While she initially underwent a hand transplant at the same time as the facial surgery, due to a complication and risk of pneumonia, the hands had to be moved.
But the face transplant was a wild success and doctors say Nash will just continue to improve.
“What we have seen is that the face almost blends in and becomes the patient’s own, to the point that I think that regular person passing by will not be even able to tell,” says Dr. Bohdan Pomahac, director of plastic surgery transplantation at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
Nash relays a story of how a little girl said hello to her out in public now that she has her new face.
“That didn’t happen before. It was nice. The little girl was saying hi to me. I looked like I’ve got eyes and everything. …I’m not scaring anybody,” says Nash.
Nash also says to the family of the donor, “Words can’t even say enough, but that donation, you know, as hard as it
was for them, was a wonderful gift for us, me and my family. Because it really gave me a life back. It’s such a wonderful
thing. I could not thank them enough.”
What a remarkable story.