Charla Nash, victim of chimp attack, checks out of Cleveland Clinic and returns to Connecticut
HARTFORD, Conn. — A Connecticut woman who lost her hands and much of her face when she was mauled by a chimpanzee has moved from an Ohio hospital to a Boston-area assisted-living center, where she plans to continue rehabilitation and hopes for more reconstructive surgery, her family's lawyer said Friday.
Bill Monaco, an attorney for the family of Charla Nash, told the Associated Press that Nash was discharged from the Cleveland Clinic on Thursday night and flown by private plane to the Boston area. He said the family is trying to keep her location private.
"She's going to be learning some skills necessary to become independent," said Monaco, who works out of Hauppauge, N.Y., on Long Island. "She needs a rehab facility while they assess what they can do for her in the future."
The 200-pound pet chimpanzee went berserk in February 2009 after its owner asked Nash to help lure it back into her house in Stamford, Conn. The animal ripped off Nash's hands, nose, lips and eyelids.
Doctors at the Cleveland Clinic have done all they can do for Nash, who has had multiple surgeries, Monaco said. Nash's goal is to have more reconstructive surgery and learn to live independently.
The Cleveland Clinic released a statement Friday.
"Ms. Charla Nash has made great progress in her recovery. She is doing well and has been discharged from the Cleveland Clinic. Throughout her stay she has touched the lives of many of our employees; we wish Charla and her family all the best," the statement said.
The clinic, which in 2008 performed the nation's first face transplant but has not done hand transplants, told Nash's family in January that she is not a candidate for a face and hand transplant.
Nash was brought to the clinic soon after the attack. She revealed her heavily disfigured face in November on "The Oprah Winfrey Show."
Nash's family is suing the chimpanzee's owner, Sandra Herold, for $50 million and wants to sue the state for $150 million, saying state officials failed to prevent the attack.
The chimp, named Travis, was shot and killed by police, and tests showed he had the anti-anxiety drug Xanax in his system. The chimp had also escaped in 2003 from his owner's car and led police on a chase for hours in downtown Stamford. No one was injured.
-- Dave Collins, Associated Press
Photo: Charla Nash on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” on Nov. 11. Credit: "The Oprah Winfrey Show"