STAMFORD - The 55-year-old woman who was savagely attacked by a chimpanzee in Stamford was transferred to the Cleveland Clinic Thursday.
Doctors say when they first saw Charla Nash, the amount of blood obscured whatever was left of her face and scalp. They also say her hands looked like they'd been shredded by a machine.
Two EMTs, Captain Bill Ackley and Rick Istvan, told News 12 Connecticut about the tense moments of when they first arrived on the scene.
"She just had such disfiguring injuries to critical structures with her face," says Ackley.
The medics say they not only had to worry about stabilizing Nash, but they had to watch out for the chimp who was still on the loose. However, police formed a perimiter around the EMTs while they transferred Nash to an ambulance.
Istvan rode with Nash to Stamford Hosptial. He says even though she couldn't talk, she could listen and respond.
"We would ask her if she could lift her leg, she would lift her leg, ask her if she could move her feet, she would move her feet," says Istvan.
The nation's first face transplant was performed at the Cleveland Clinic two months ago. However, it is not yet known if Nash is a candidate for the same procedure.
Surgeons say any type of reconstructive procedure takes time, and Nash will likely need a series of surgeries over the next few years.
"There's ear, nose and throat that's going to be involved," says Dr. Ralph Szilagyi, of Westport. "It's going to be a team, it's probably a cranial-facial team and there are a few centers like that where this can be done."
Nash remains in critical condition.
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Listen to the 911 tape