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Woman Traumatized By Chimpanzee Attack Speaks Out After 6 Years

#6. Rabies Risk

Meanwhile, while Charla was undergoing her extensive surgery, authorities were taking Travis’ head to the state laboratory for a rabies test. His body was sent to the University of Connecticut for a necropsy. Though the ape tested negative for rabies, the necropsy revealed that the chimp had been given Xanax slightly before his death. Apparently, Sandra Herold had been giving it to Travis in order to calm down.

#7. Drugged Ape

Xanax, which is a short-acting but highly-potent anti-anxiety drug, has been known to cause disinhibition and disorientation in those who take it. Other side effects include paradoxical reactions of hallucination, aggression, and rage. Sandra admitted to having given Travis Xanax-laced tea on the day of the attack. This combination of medication, which can be unpredictable in a healthy human brain, exacerbated his aggressive tendencies…

#8. No Kind of Life...

Charla’s recovery was not an easy one. Doctors had successfully reattached her jaw, but were unable to fix any of the damage done to her eyes: she would be blind for life. The next few months were a struggle. She couldn’t speak, see, or hear properly. She didn’t have her hands, had no way to communicate. Yet, through all of her trials and tribulations, there was a silver lining. Charla’s severe injuries made her a possible candidate for an experimental face transplant surgery.

#9. On Oprah

She was being cared for at the Cleveland Clinic and had been paying for her astronomical medical expenses with the help of donations. It wasn’t until several years later that Nash finally revealed the true extent of her damaged face in public for the first time. She had been invited to come on The Oprah Winfrey Show on November 11, 2009. It was a cathartic moment for Charla and helped her find the courage to undergo the face transplant…

#10. Face Transplant

Charla Nash underwent face transplant surgery in June 2011. Both the new face and the hands had been donated. The surgical team was led by Dr. Bohdan Pomahač at the Harvard teaching affiliate, Brigham and Women’s Hospital. The transplant had been a success, at least at first. Sadly, Charla developed pneumonia soon after the transplant and the hands had to be removed due to the infection and poor circulation that resulted from it.


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