A team of doctors at the Cleveland Clinic will spend as much as a week determining how they will treat a woman mauled by a chimpanzee, and whether they will consider offering her a face transplant.
Charla Nash, 55, was in critical but stable condition Friday with “severe trauma to her face, scalp and hands” at the clinic, Dr. Daniel Alam, a facial and plastic and reconstructive surgeon, said in a written statement. It was at the famed institution in December that surgeons performed the nation’s first face transplant. Nash was flown Thursday in the clinic’s private air ambulance from a hospital in Stamford, Connecticut, where she had been taken Monday in the immediate aftermath of the attack. “It’s way too early to tell if she’s a candidate for a face transplant,” a hospital spokeswoman said Thursday. She said doctors at the clinic would consider that procedure only after ruling out all other options. Nash’s ordeal began Monday, when her friend, Sandra Herold, 70, called and asked her to help get her escaped 14-year-old chimp back into her house.
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When Nash arrived at the Stamford home of her friend, the chimp, who has been featured in TV commercials for Coca-Cola and Old Navy, jumped on her and began biting and mauling her, police said. Nash underwent seven hours of surgery at Stamford Hospital. A Stamford police officer fatally shot the nearly 200-pound chimp. Herold told reporters that she and the chimp slept together and that she considered him like a son.