Jonathan Wiggs / Globe Staff Photo
Charla Nash, a Connecticut woman who was terribly mauled by a chimpanzee, is the third American to receive an entirely new face at Brigham and Women's Hospital.
The hospital planned to announce today that a team of 30 doctors and nurses performed a full face transplant on Nash late last month. The Brigham did not reveal the exact date to protect the privacy of the donor.
During the surgery, Nash also received transplants of both of her hands, which the chimp destroyed when it attacked her in February, 2009 at her friend's home in Stamford. Nash, however, suffered complications and the hands ''failed to thrive,'' forcing surgeons to remove them, the hospital said in a statement.
Nash's injuries are so severe that she has not been able to eat or breathe normally, relying instead on feeding and breathing tubes. The face transplant is intended to help address these problems.
But Nash also was blinded in the attack, and it is very difficult for a blind person to live independently without hands, her doctors at the Brigham have said. It's unclear whether another hand transplant would be possible in the future.
The Cleveland Clinic previously turned down Nash for a face and hand transplant, because doctors did not believe they had the capacity to transplant the hands. This was the Brigham's first hand transplant.
The Brigham is now the leading US hospital for face transplantation.
The hospital performed a partial face transplant on James Maki, who lives in Fitchburg, in April 2009, and full face transplants on Dallas Wiens of Texas and Mitch Hunter of Indiana, earlier this year.
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|White Coat Notes covers the latest from the health care industry, hospitals, doctors offices, labs, insurers, and the corridors of government. Chelsea Conaboy previously covered health care for The Philadelphia Inquirer. Write her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter: @cconaboy.|
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