Face transplant is rejected, chimp victim says - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Face transplant is rejected, chimp victim says

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Charla Nash (WFSB) Charla Nash (WFSB)
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB/AP) -

The Connecticut woman who underwent a face transplant five years ago after being attacked by a chimpanzee is back in a Boston hospital after doctors discovered her body is rejecting the transplant.

Charla Nash says doctors have decided to end an experimental drug treatment and put her back on her original medication in the hopes of reversing the rejection.

Nash thanked everyone for their concerns and said she feels "perfect." 

"I didn’t even know I was having a rejection episode," Nash said in a statement on Wednesday. "While I am disappointed that I cannot continue in the research project, I am proud of my contributions to date, and am hopeful that it will help those wounded serving our country, and others needing transplants in the future.”  

Nash's spokesperson Shelly Sindland said her client "has been having some issues."

"She had some patchy areas on her face so on Monday, they did a biopsy and it did show her face transplant was being rejected," Sindland said. 

Nash had been taking part in a military-funded experiment in which doctors at Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital tried to wean her off the anti-rejection drugs she had been taking since the 2011 operation.

Bohdan Pomahac,  who is the director of Plastic Surgery Transplantation at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, said Nash's face transplant "is not in jeopardy" and overall, she is "doing well." 

“Charla is currently experiencing a moderate rejection episode, which face transplant patients experience on occasion. Charla was previously participating in a research study that is designed to determine whether it is possible for composite tissue allograft recipients to safely taper off of conventional anti rejection medications.  Per the study design, we have removed Charla from this research protocol due to this rejection episode," Pomahac said in a statement on Wednesday.

Nash is expected to resume "her original medication" and then could leave the hospital in the next day or two. 

"We expect this rejection episode to be resolved within the coming week," Pomahac said. 

Nash tells The Associated Press she would appreciate any prayers and is confident her participation in the experiment will provide information to help treat disfigured soldiers returning from war.

Anyone who wants to help Nash can donate by clicking here

Copyright 2016 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved.