Conn. chimp attack victim may have brain damage
Thursday, March 5, 2009
NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- A Connecticut woman mauled by a chimpanzee two weeks ago lost her hands, nose, lips and eyelids and may be blind and suffering brain damage, and hospital officials say it's still unclear if her condition will improve at all.
The Cleveland Clinic, revealing the specific injuries Wednesday for the first time, said in a statement that 55-year-old Charla Nash also lost the bone structure in her face when she was attacked Feb. 16 in Stamford, Conn.
Her wounds have been stabilized, but "critical issues still remain related to a significant traumatic brain injury and injuries to her eyes that threaten her vision," the hospital said.
Neurosurgeons and ophthalmologists are working to evaluate and manage her injuries, but "the full extent of these injuries and her potential for recovery, if any, remain unclear at this time," the hospital said.
Nash remains sedated in the hospital, which performed the nation's first face transplant in December. Hospital officials say it's too early to know if she will be a candidate for a face transplant.
The family and hospital said they are grateful to those across the country who have been concerned about Nash's recovery.
The 200-pound chimp was shot and killed by police. Police are still deciding whether its owner, Sandra Herold, of Stamford, will face criminal charges.
Herold's attorney, Joe Gerardi, declined to comment Wednesday.
Herold had asked Nash to come to her home the day of the attack to help lure Travis back into her house. Herold has speculated that the chimp was trying to protect her and attacked Nash because she had changed her hairstyle, was driving a different car and was holding a stuffed toy in front of her face to get Travis' attention.
When he was younger, Travis starred in TV commercials for Old Navy and Coca-Cola, made an appearance on the "Maury Povich Show" and took part in a television pilot.