The Horror of Chimpanzee Attacks

(Caution: this story contains graphic and disturbing details of chimpanzee attacks)

Charla Nash was nearly eaten alive by a pet chimpanzee named Travis owned by Sandra Herold of Stamford CT. She was so close to death and so terribly mangled that first responders could not tell the sex of the victim lying face down on the ground. Medical personnel and police officers needed post-traumatic  counseling to help ease their experience with the tragedy. We learn now that Ms. Nash has been transferred to The Cleveland Clinic face transplant department providing some hope that, in their skilled hands (they performed the first U.S. face transplant) she may be returned to some semblance of normalcy.

(Update June 11, 2011: Charla Nash has received a full face transplant at Brigham and  Women’s Hospital in Boston and is expected to regain facial movement and sense of taste and smell. However  efforts to transplant new hands to replace those destroyed in the attack failed due to complications.)

In a remarkably similar event four years ago St/.James Davis, a California man,  was attacked by a chimp at a wildlife sanctuary. Davis  has never fully recovered from the attack, and most likely never will. Some 60 surgeries were needed for his massive injuries described in the NY Daily News:

….his nose and mouth were ripped off, an eye was gouged out, his left foot was mangled and most of his fingers and buttocks were devoured….He was in a medically induced coma for months….

Almost four years later, Davis said the news of Nash’s attack last week hit him hard.

The Connecticut woman was visiting friend Sandra Herold in Stamford on Monday when Herold’s pet chimp, Travis, suddenly went wild. Nash was badly mauled before cops shot and killed Travis. Nash has been transferred to an Ohio hospital for extensive reconstruction.

“It’s so much like my story,” Davis said.

“I hoped it would never happen again,” he said, sitting on an electric wheelchair with a prosthetic nose hanging lopsided over two thin red cavities where his own nose used to be. “She probably can’t talk. I couldn’t even grunt. But she needs to hear voices she knows.”

h/t Pat Dollard

St. James Davis

St. James Davis


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