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Chimp Attack Victim Gets New Face: Will Face Transplants Be Common Practice Soon?

News 2011/08/12 19:35:55
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In a historic surgery, a 57-year-old woman who was mauled by a chimpanzee, became the third person in the U.S. to receive a full face transplant. This week, Charla Nash released photos of her remarkable transformation.

Two years ago, Nash was visiting her neighbor, Sandra Herold, when Herold's chimpanzee went berserk and tore off Nash's hands, eyes, nose, lips, and ears. Nash survived the attack but was left permanently blind and unable to eat solid food. After being released from the hospital, she lived in an assisted-living facility and had to breath through a tube.

In May, Nash underwent simultaneous double hand and face transplant surgeries. In a 20-hour operation, doctors transplanted facial tissue, including skin, nerves, and muscles, from the donor to Nash. As Nash recovers, the tissue will begin to conform to her underlying facial structure, allowing her to look something like she did before the attack. According to doctors, Nash will not resemble the donor.

Unfortunately, the hand transplants were not as successful. Doctors had to remove the hands after Nash developed pneumonia and kidney failure, which led to "circulation issues." Doctors say that they may be able to try again when another pair of donor hands becomes available. However, such a surgery would have an increased risk of rejection, as it would be introducing tissue from a second donor (in addition to that from Nash's face transplant).

Regardless, Nash is thankful for the many ways the face transplant will improve her quality of life. "I will be able to smell. I will be able to eat normally. I will no longer be disfigured," she said. "I will have lips and will speak clearly once again. I will be able to kiss and hug loved ones. I am tremendously grateful to the donor and her family."

Face transplants are still considered experimental procedures and have been the subject of ethical debate in the news and on shows like "Grey's Anatomy" and "Nip/Tuck." Many worry about the psychological and moral impacts of wearing another person's face. Others fear that the technology will be abused for aesthetic reasons. Yet, we should remember that kidney and heart transplant surgeries, which are now commonly accepted, were also initially met with resistance.

What do you think? Will face transplant surgeries become commonly accepted?
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  • The Pot... Tank 2011/08/13 21:46:44
    The Potato Princess
    +1
    Just because they're less common doesn't necessarily mean they're likelier to attack.
  • misha The Pot... 2011/08/13 22:43:57 (edited)
    misha
    Respectfully, I can tell you that this is the case with these animals. They're exceedingly more unpredictable than other exotic pets because of their cognitive complexity and strength. What's strange is that this type of thing happens every year to chimp owners, and yet, the "Travis" case was highlighted as unusual. We're seeing an over-flow of pet chimps being dumped at squalid, road-side "zoos", etc. to the point that there are virtually no avenues left for people who can't handle their temperaments or SSP recommended guidelines for welfare. They're full to capacity and AZA sanctioned zoos won't usually accept them either because of compromised genetics and the introduction captive-induced stereotypies.
  • The Pot... misha 2011/08/13 22:47:30
    The Potato Princess
    I understand and I'm not arguing that. Just her point about how most people don't have them irked me, y'know?
  • misha The Pot... 2011/08/13 22:55:11
    misha
    +1
    Yeah, there are actually more pet chimps than those in real zoos at this point. Which is incredibly stupid if you ask me; you're just asking to get your face ripped off.
  • Andrea misha 2011/08/14 00:55:14
    Andrea
    I think it is stupid to own a pit bull, but to each their own. Like I said, every animal has the potential to attack for any or no reason.
  • misha Andrea 2011/08/14 01:16:33
    misha
    +1
    But we're talking about endangered, unpredictable, and extremely wild animals here. I think it's quite a bit different than a domesticated companion. Apes are one of the most intelligent and frequently violent animals on the planet; I wouldn't count on them reacting to you in the same way as a dog. Chimps can do much more damage than dogs in much less time.

    And in any case, I don't believe endangered animals should be in the hands of inexperienced, non-accredited people or institutions.
  • Tank misha 2011/08/14 02:46:02
    Tank
    +1
    Exactly!
  • Andrea misha 2011/08/14 03:30:35
    Andrea
    This is the first I have heard of chimpanzees being on the endangered species list.
  • misha Andrea 2011/08/14 04:21:13
    misha
    Exactly. But they are; we just finished a study on public perception influenced by the use of chimps in media and as pets and your opinion was the most frequent, albeit incorrect. They're double-listed as endangered in the wild, but threatened for use in laboratories and zoological gardens. In approximately 1.5 chimp generations they won't exist in the wild. We need a healthy captive population to ensure quality genetics in offspring so that some day they could be re-introduced. Breeders compromise that effort because they don't adhere to SSP guidelines and the people who buy from them perpetuate that.
  • notokand The Pot... 2011/08/14 14:15:21
    notokand
    .... Actually, it is very dangerous owning a chimp as a pet.
  • The Pot... notokand 2011/08/14 14:36:37
    The Potato Princess
    >.> I know. But not many people having them isn't what makes them dangerous.
  • misha Tank 2011/08/13 18:39:52
    misha
    100% agreed. How is it that one can own an endangered animal as a pet? I don't care if they're double listed; in approximately 1.5 generations there won't be any wild chimps. Breeders dilute the genetic pool of captive animals with sub-par offspring for these people who don't fully comprehend the implications of chimps as pets. Sure they're cute when they're young, but fully grown they're 7 times stronger than the average human.
  • Tank misha 2011/08/13 18:43:47
    Tank
    +1
    THANK YOU!!! Someone who understands the point I'm trying to make. It's the same thing for having gators, gorillas, & even cheetahs & leopards as pets! They're not meant to be pets at all but some people refuse to understand ...
  • Andrea Tank 2011/08/14 00:57:52
    Andrea
    In your opinion. The domestic cat and dog were once wild animals too. Until they were domesticated. Heck in this country people freak if you claim to eat either, and yet some cultures consider them food.

    I will agree that if a person is not willing to assume the risk, then no, they should not have them as a pet. And the owner is responsible for any attacks their animal makes.
  • VicTORiousAnything 2011/08/13 12:37:44
    Yes
    VicTORiousAnything
    +1
    Hope Nash gets better!
  • sundance 2011/08/13 11:48:58
    Yes
    sundance
    +1
    While I hope to never need one, I would be willing to bet, to the faceless, their popularity will grow...Just a thought...
  • Claudia 2011/08/13 11:18:12
    Yes
    Claudia
    +2
    Yes but only if the person needs to do face transplant, not because she wants to, like celebrities do all the time with their bodies.
  • dandieselonian 2011/08/13 10:35:57
    Undecided
    dandieselonian
    +1
    yes someday they can save face for the faceless victims of monkeybusiness
  • ELLIE 2011/08/13 10:01:35
    Yes
    ELLIE
    +1
    I hope she makes a good recovery.She deserves so much.I wish her nothing but the best for the future.
  • Tunnel Vision 2011/08/13 08:17:43
    Yes
    Tunnel Vision
    +1
    We will see many strange transplants in the future as well, have none of you watched a science fiction movie before?
  • Tasbyha 2011/08/13 08:15:25
    Yes
    Tasbyha
    +1
    yes , then people may change their face every month :P but m nto going todo it
  • Stone.Cold.Krazy 2011/08/13 07:24:06
    Yes
    Stone.Cold.Krazy
    +2
    Yes I could always use a new face..lol
  • Steverno~POTL~PWCM~JLA 2011/08/13 06:49:22
    Undecided
    Steverno~POTL~PWCM~JLA
    +1
    I think face transplants will remain a rare medical surgery procedure!

    But the surgery result is an big improvement over what she looked like,before the procedure!

    medical surgery procedure surgery result improvement looked likebefore procedure
  • JuliaLeigh711 2011/08/13 05:58:58
    Undecided
    JuliaLeigh711
    +3
    I doubt many would want a face transplant. But sometimes dire circumstances happen in our lives to change things. Therefore, I cannot say. Since these people are usually victims of terrible tragedies. I see she had a Pretty Face and Such a Sweet Soul. Only to Help a Friend and it Cost her So Much. Sad Story to think about.
  • fairiefang -annoying fashio... 2011/08/13 05:40:12
    Yes
    fairiefang -annoying fashion snobs everywhere-
    +5
    I'm sure for shallow people wanting a "prettier" face, as well.

    Unless you need it (like in Nash's case) plastic surgery is sick.

    The face thing just makes me think of-
    shallow people prettier nashs case plastic surgery sick face off
  • Manster fairief... 2011/08/13 16:13:06
  • SundanceChick 2011/08/13 05:17:26
    Yes
    SundanceChick
    +2
    I don't see what the problem is. It would improve the lives of disfigured people. Although, I don't know about "common practice" but that's just because I think it's pretty rare to have ones face ripped off. I suppose burn victims might benefit though.
  • Brian Stevens 2011/08/13 04:42:15
    Undecided
    Brian Stevens
    +1
    Probably
    How about Chimps being kept as pets which is INSANE. Face ripped off in many instances.. Now surgeons have to come up with technology that shouldnt be needed in that case. Fire, or other instances YES. Stupid people thinking CHIMPS and other WILD animals kept in a cage are your friends NO
  • MJ 2011/08/13 04:27:56
    Undecided
    MJ
    +2
    I think that facial transplants should be an option in severe cases like this, or in severe car crashes and the like. But just for anyone? Nah.
  • Danny Barker 2011/08/13 04:25:40
    Yes
    Danny Barker
    +1
    I think it is realy amazing what doctors can do these days.So why not if they realy need it.Also she looks great.Wonder what the family thinks about it?
  • Bluebird 2011/08/13 03:45:31
    Yes
    Bluebird
    +2
    Let's hope so. I know one person whose face was disfigured from cancer surgery. They had to remove part of her jaw and cheek bone. I hope that they can continue to restore people's lives.
  • TheBorg 2011/08/13 03:39:51
    Undecided
    TheBorg
    +2
    Only if getting your face ripped off by a chimpanzee becomes common practice.
  • adhikari_2000 2011/08/13 03:38:45
    Yes
    adhikari_2000
    +1
    Der Friends, It is a kind of surgery might be ethically controversial , as she lost her eye sight right now GOD will someday restore her unthinkable power (seems as seeing away or past similarity for her and for her priority) & for rest of successs for her face transplant although experimental needs more trial in various stages without rejecting untouchable communication here in this case might be donor.Thank you. GOD blesses America.
  • Moonbeams 2011/08/13 03:03:26
    Yes
    Moonbeams
    +5
    I think it's absolutely amazing-- Wonderful for people who truly need!
  • bags 2011/08/13 03:00:16
    Undecided
    bags
    +3
    You have to have a donor.......that's always the hitch for transplants, the donor. If they have trouble getting hearts and kidneys, imagine the problems with trying to find faces for this. Personally, I think this is miraculous, that we have come so far as to be able to do this at all. Charla Nash has been transformed once again. Thank you Creator for allowing us this boon.
  • Ves~Sailor Soldier of PHAET 2011/08/13 02:53:29
    Undecided
    Ves~Sailor Soldier of PHAET
    +3
    Only common in the circumstances in which they are needed I hope. This is amazing news , I wish Nash a healthy recovery and new life.
  • Tannenberg1993 2011/08/13 02:51:26
    Yes
    Tannenberg1993
    +4
    I just hope I never need one and I never see one performed...
  • The Winter Sodahead 2011/08/13 02:44:22
    Yes
    The Winter Sodahead
    +1
    almost certainly
  • Astro-Boy PHAET 2011/08/13 02:41:19
    Yes
    Astro-Boy PHAET
    +3
    I think eventually yes, it will be.
  • GINGERBREAD 2011/08/13 02:38:19
    Yes
    GINGERBREAD
    I surely hope so. Maybe OBAMA will have a face transplant and change his name to "BARRY" Sotero again, and he can run for president again.

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