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Charla Nash Gets Face Transplant After Chimp Attack

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A team of more than 30 doctors and nurses have carried out a face transplant for Charla Nash, the Connecticut woman who was mauled by her friend's pet chimpanzee in 2009. An attempt to give her a pair of new hands failed, and the transplanted hands were removed.

Nash, 57, was helping Sandra Herold lure her pet chimp Travis inside when the 200 pound animal ripped off her nose, lips, eyelids, and hands before being shot and killed by police.

Since the attack, Nash wore a straw hat with a veil to cover her injuries, but revealed her mangled face on a November 2009 episode of Oprah.

The date of the transplant will not be released to protect the donor's identity, but officials at Brigham and Women's Hospital said it occurred in late May. The 20-hour surgery was fraught with complications, according to John Orr, a spokesman for the Nash family.

Nash is the third person to undergo a face transplant at Brigham and Women's Hospital. Dallas Wiens received the nation's first face transplant patient there in March.

The only other known simultaneous face and hands transplant was performed in France in 2009, and that patient later died.

Herold's 911 call offered a haunting description of the violent attack. Herold can be heard screaming that the ape had killed her friend and was "eating her."

"The chimp killed my friend," Herold screamed. "Send the police with a gun. With a gun!"

The dispatcher later asks, "Who's killing your friend?"

"My chimpanzee," she cries. "He ripped her apart! Shoot him, shoot him!"

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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