Charla Nash, the Stamford, Conn., woman mauled by a 200-pound chimpanzee on Feb. 16, spoke out for the first time to show the world how she’s doing after that brutal attack.
Saying she’s not in any pain, Nash told Oprah Winfrey for a show that aired Wednesday, “I don’t remember [The attack]. I don’t want to … I want to get healthy. I don’t want to wake up with nightmares.”
In the course of the TV interview, which was filmed at Ohio’s Cleveland Clinic where Nash is being treated, Nash willingly allowed Winfrey to lift the veiled hat that normally covers her face and reveal her badly disfigured face to the public for the first time. Nash said she wears the veil to avoid scaring people.
The family of Nash is suing the chimp’s owner, Nash’s longtime friend and employer, Sandra Herold, for $50 million. They are also suing the state of Connecticut for $150 million for having not seen the warning signs, Thursday’s Today show reported.
The attack took place outside Herold’s home, when Herold called Nash to help her shepherd the 14-year-old chimpanzee, Travis, back into her house. Police shot and killed Travis after he attacked Nash.
Nash’s legal filing describes her injuries as “catastrophic.” She lost both hands and incurred “traumatic facial injury” that includes the loss of her nose, upper and lower lips, eyelids and the bony structures in her mid-face.
Doctors have been able to reattach one of her thumbs, which Winfrey gently shook at the end of the interview. Asked what she would tell those who saw her and didn’t know how to react, Nash said, “I’m the same person I’ve always been. I just look different. You know, and there’s things that happen in life that, you know, you can’t change it. You know, it’s a tragedy.”