The Turtle Hospital. Rescue, Rehab, Release.

“Doc” Checks in for Rehab

Photo by B. Heitman

At just over 70 lbs, juvenile loggerhead “Doc” checked in for rehab on April 20.  Doc was found floating off Sombrero Beach by part-time Marathoners and Wisconsin natives Tim & Barb Heitman and Becky Galvan.  Mr. Heitman practices medicine, which inspired Doc’s name.  Having participated in one of our education programs a few weeks prior, the trio could tell this turtle was in distress, and they knew just who to call!  Needing a boat for pick-up, Florida National Marine Sanctuary and FWC provided Doc’s transportation, performing the at-sea rescue.  Upon arrival at our little marina, Doc was taken into the Emergency Room for a full body examination, including X-rays.  In addition to being unable to dive, the turtle has abscesses under the throat region as well as a tear in the lower jaw, presumably from a fish hook being ripped out.  The turtle is also experiencing “lock jaw” and will likely undergo physical therapy to get the mouth muscles working again.  A special thanks goes out to Doc’s rescuers!  Now we can be sure that this sea turtle gets all the medical attention needed for a quick and full recovery!

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