bay holden II corenetta stacy III hanover boryk hope pounder II brunswick splash
briggy lumina


Caretta caretta


JULY 26, 2005
JUNE 7, 2006
Weight  54.5 kg  63.0 kg
SCL:  70.4cm  73.5 cm
SCW:  60.1cm  62.1 cm
THE STRANDING Found  with severe laceration on rear flipper.
THE TREATMENT Will be taken to NC State College of Veterinary Medicine for possible amputation.
The following interview with Brunswick explains the great surgical care given by the NC State School of Veterinary Medicine.

Oh, the indignity!

April 2006
An Interview with Brunswick by Karen Sota

Karen Sota: Brunswick, do you have a minute?

Brunswick: Do you have an appointment? 

KS: No, but I have squid.

B: Then come on in! 

KS: Uh – thanks but I’ll just stand. I was here the day you arrived last July – right in the middle of our open house. Talk about making a grand entrance.

B: And I thought all those people came to see me! It was a long, hot ride from the Brunswick power plant in the back of Chuck Nelson’s truck. I really gave Mr. Chuck a hard time, but he sure knows how to handle turtles. He calmed me down and got me here safely. 

KS: He’s a very nice man who really cares about sea turtles. He’s made that long trip many times to bring us a patient, most recently Southport. What were you doing at the power plant, anyway?

B: Just resting for a bit. My left rear flipper didn’t feel right. I thought I’d find a place to lie down so I could take a look at it and figure out why it hurt so much. 

KS: It hurt because it was nearly severed, probably by fishing line or a propeller. But that didn’t stop you from thrashing around and trying to kick me. I was afraid you’d kick the end of your flipper right off.

B: I was really scared. If I had known about all the great care I was going to get here I would have been more cooperative.

KS: Your medical care has been exceptional. I was at the vet school with Bay a few weeks ago when your surgeon, Dr. Grafinger tracked me down specifically to ask about you.

B: He’s a miracle worker! He really loves reptiles, and he pulled out all the stops to save my flipper. As he was explaining the whole procedure to Ms. Jean I was thinking, “wow, he did all that for me!”

  KS: Explain “all that.”
B: After he debrided my wound he discovered that there was still a blood supply running through a small tab of skin. That was a good thing. Here’s the really cool part: he made me new tendons out of suture material!  He drilled holes in the bones on both sides of my wound. Then he threaded my new “tendons” through the holes and pulled the bones together. 


B: The man is a genius. But he still had lots of work to do, suturing the edges of the wound back together, layer by layer, from the inside out. I had so many sutures in me I was practically a cross-stitch version of a sea turtle.

  KS: That many sutures can sometimes present problems for you, and for us. Sutures don’t dissolve in sea turtles like they do in humans. That might have led to abscesses if we hadn’t been so vigilant about keeping your wound clean.
B: I know I wasn’t the most cooperative turtle, but I really did try not to bite and kick anybody during those endless months of medication and cleanings. As I healed those sutures just kept popping out like porcupine quills. I know how hard it was for you to find them with me fussing and pouting. I apologize for being such a pain.

KS: We apologize, as humans, for having caused you all that pain. It was a slow process, and at one point we were concerned that the healing had stopped. We decided to leave you alone and let nature work her magic. Sure enough, a few weeks later the top of the flipper was about 90% healed and the bottom was 80% healed.

B: What a relief – I though you had all gone away because I had done something to make you mad at me. 

KS: Well, now you’re 100%. As it turns out, it’s really important that Dr. Grafinger’s cutting-edge skills saved your flipper. He could have taken the easy way out and just amputated it.

B: But he didn’t, and now you tell me it’s important. Why? 

KS: We’ve noticed that your “feminine side” is quite dominant. A lady turtle will have a much easier time digging and disguising her nest with two rear flippers. Did you know you’re in the books as the only sea turtle to have this type of procedure?

B: Again – wow. I love Dr. Grafinger. I know Briggy feels the same way about him. He shows off his flipper all the time. 

KS: Brunswick, any thoughts before you leave us?

B: I’m really grateful this hospital exists; it gave me a second chance at life. I’m going out there and make you all proud by having lots and lots of strong turtle babies. No offense, but I just hope they don’t have to come here.

  KS: I understand. Thanks, Brunswick. You’re a class act.


Released June 7, 2006