Charla Nash had no idea that her life would change irrevocably when she answered a call from her friend Sandra Herold in February 2009.
Herold required assistance bringing Travis, her chimpanzee, inside. Nash knew Travis, so she didn’t anticipate the chimp to hurt her in ways that would alter her life.
Herold, a 70-year-old woman, beat Travis over the head with a shovel and stabbed him with a butcher knife in an effort to stop him.
She simply managed to aggravate Travis further. Sandra dialed 911 and stated:
He is murdering my pal. Chimpanzee, my! He dismembered her. Shoot him, please! Killing my girlfriend, he says.
Following her face transplant operation, Charla Nash is doing well
Capt. Bill Ackley of Stamford Emergency Medical Service told The New York Times, “I’ve been doing this for a long time and have never seen something this spectacular on a living patient.”
After the incident, Charla underwent significant surgery on her hands and face in Stamford, Connecticut, by four surgical teams.
According to a hospital official, Nash had made good progress in light of the procedures she had over the previous 72 hours.
A face transplant was being discussed by Charla’s family, the representative said. Charla’s jaw had been reattached by surgeons, but she was no longer recognizable.
In a May 2016 article for TODAY, Stephanie Siegel said:
“I had seen pictures of her face, or what was left of it after the attack, but nothing completely prepares you for what you see and feel in person,” the speaker said.
Fear swept through my body as I walked up to her bedside. But as soon as we started talking, it all vanished.
Despite her missing her hands, nose, eyes, and most of her face after the attack, Charla was incredibly optimistic, which astounded Siegel.
Nash underwent face and hand transplants in 2011 at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
Nash, unfortunately, suffered pneumonia and kidney failure, which interfered with the flow of blood to his hands.
The hands had to be removed by the doctors, but they were still in good condition for a future donor.
The only other time the simultaneous face and hand surgery was done, the patient passed away. Charla, thankfully, made it through the treatment.
Nash was able to eat on her own thanks to the surgery, increasing her level of independence. Charla revealed to TODAY that she had been impacted by her growing reliance on others:
I try to get a little stronger and more aggressive with the things I want to achieve every day.
Before the incident, I was a very independent person, so having to rely on others for everything has been difficult.
According to Dr. Bohdan Pomahac, Charla was once again able to breathe through her nose, smell, and eat without drooling after the procedure.
Charla Nash’s inability to recall the attack benefited her psychological recovery
According to TODAY, Nash listens to the radio and audiobooks while she works. Charla remarked, “I feel like I could accomplish ten times more if I simply had my eyes because right now I’m in the dark.”
Nash uses a prosthetic hand to eat the meal that is prepared for her by assistants. Through a GoFundMe account her buddy set up, she was able to raise money for the hand.
Herold’s inheritance left Charla $4 million, the majority of which went toward paying her legal and medical expenses. Says Carla
I’m able to feed myself, but I have to have the food sliced in front of me. I don’t have any help at home on weekends since I have a lot of medical bills to pay, but there are things in the refrigerator that I can open and eat by myself.
The fact that Charla cannot recall the event has facilitated her psychological recuperation. She uttered:
“I’ve been advised that it might remain concealed for years and that it might strike me, giving me nightmares and other symptoms. Knock on wood, I don’t have any nightmares or memories, but if it happens, I can seek out professional assistance.
Her independence in the majority of things has also benefited her recovery. Nash had mastered using one thumb to text, according to Stephanie Siegel.
Siegel stated that Nash’s selflessness is admirable since, despite her difficulties, she frequently checks on Stephanie and her children. Siegel penned:
“She has taught me to be more compassionate, stronger during difficult times, and the adage to “don’t sweat the small stuff.”
The rest of us have no reason to complain when we observe what she goes through every day simply to live.
If someone finds himself in this scenario, Charla advised, “don’t think about the past and what has happened.”
“Consider who you want to be in the future and what you want to accomplish. Don’t give up.
Charla Nash feels privileged to be educating the troops about face transplantation
For the purpose of learning more about face and hand transplants, the Department of Defense funded Charla’s surgery.
Most wartime wounds focus on the face and extremities. Through its hand and face transplantation program, the Pentagon provides financial assistance to numerous medical institutions.
Nash was more than happy to take part in research studies that would help injured warriors. Her father had served in the Air Force. She started to TODAY:
My initial thought was probably, “Wow, that’s amazing, I can help, I can do something. It’s not like I’m just floating around like a dead log. I genuinely have something to offer.
Specialists attempted to wean Charla off the anti-rejection medications she had been on since the procedure in 2016.
The doctors discovered that Carla’s body began rejecting the transplant as soon as she stopped taking the medication.
“I gave it everything I had, and I know that my involvement in the study will still be useful. If I could, I would repeat the entire process.
The real heroes are the men and women who serve our nation. I’m just grateful I was able to lend a hand.
I wished that I had more time to act. I am grateful to everyone who is praying for me because I firmly believe in the power of prayer.
Nash suffered such severe wounds that the medical professionals need counseling to cope
Nash’s injuries were so severe and horrifying, according to Scott Orstad, a spokesman for Stamford Hospital, that the hospital personnel required treatment to cope. Said Orstad:
“Staff members have stated that this is something they have never encountered in their careers. The hospital hasn’t encountered a case quite like this one in a while.
The neighborhood was baffled as to how a submissive and endearing chimpanzee-like Travis could have attacked Nash and brought her dangerously close to death.
Changes in Connecticut law requiring primates weighing more than 50 pounds to be registered with the state were brought about by an incident involving Travis in 2003.
Travis’ escape from a car in 2003, which caused traffic to back up for several hours, was a small occurrence in comparison to the atrocities he committed six years later.
On the day of the assault, Travis seemed agitated, so Herold offered him tea laced with Xanax to calm him down.
Additionally, the chimpanzee was taking medication for Lyme illness, which can occasionally result in psychosis and very high levels of anxiety.
According to the New York Times, as chimpanzees reach adulthood, they begin behaving aggressively toward their owners.
Experts claim that such chimpanzees cannot be released back into the wild because other chimpanzees will reject them.
Travis fled into the woods as paramedics treated Nash after police responded to Herold’s call. After a while, Travis came back and began to assault the police.
The super-strong chimp attempted to enter the locked door of a police cruiser while knocking on the mirror from the passenger side.
Running to the opposite side, Travis discovered that the door was unlocked.
Frank Chiafari, a policeman who had played with Travis as the chimpanzee grew up, was inside the car.
Chiafari had no alternative but to close the distance between four fatal rounds while being trapped by the hostile beast.