green (Chelonia mydas)
Stranding Location: Bristol Marina, Charleston, SC
Arrival Date: 11/13/2012
Weight: 3.52 kg (~8 lb.)
Local community members at Bristol Marina in downtown Charleston, SC, teamed together to rescue this little green from the space in between their floating docks. November strandings are rare in South Carolina but, with water temperatures still above 70 degrees Fahrenheit, sea turtles are still in our coastal waters this year. After a very quick transport across town to our hospital, “Bristol” arrived lethargic but responsive. In a lucky turn of events, Bristol was rescued and treated for severe wounds just hours after apparently being struck by a boat.
Upon arrival, Bristol’s heart rate was strong and our vet administered pain meds, antibiotics, injectable vitamins, and fluids. Blood work was better than expected, although it did show that Bristol was dehydrated. The boat impact caused extensive trauma: Bristol’s external wounds were severe, and radiographs revealed multiple fractures in the bones of the front flippers (see photo). The external wounds were flushed and dressed, and Bristol became our first patient ever to receive negative pressure wound therapy (NPWT), which is beneficial in removing fluids and contaminants from wounds and also promotes healing.
18 November 2012: Bristol has been receiving NPWT daily since arrival. On Friday, he was allowed to enjoy a filtered tank of shallow water for the first time. He is somewhat active in the water, although he tires easily and is unable to move his right front flipper properly due to the severe fractures.
19 November 2012: Our vet, Dr. Boylan, reset the fractured right humerus and immobilized both fractured front flippers to permit healing. Please keep Bristol in your thoughts, as he has a very long recovery ahead of him.
25 February 2013: Bristol is happily swimming in a large filtered tank he shares with McCann, a cold-stunned green. His carapace and plastron wounds have healed well, but we are still closely monitoring his flipper fractures. On a good note, this little turtle certainly feels much better than he did when he was admitted!
Isle of Palms, SC