TOPSAIL ISLAND, NORTH CAROLINA

harker
HARKER Loggerhead
(Caretta caretta)
juvenile: Admitted 9/27/98
Age:       6-8 years; 
Weight:  32.4kg
Female,    Died 1/04/99
THE INJURY This turtle was observed in distress for several days near Harker's Island, NC.
Folks with only the best intentions attempted to help her back out to sea.  After several unsuccessful attempts a young man and his grandmother contacted the state sea turtle coordinator, who then contacted the KBSTRRC.
The sea turtle has traumatic lesions to the head, neck and carapace.  There is a longitudinal fracture of the dorsal cranium, a contaminated fracture of the dorsal carapace, and a contaminated laceration of the neck with protruding necrotic muscle and fat.

harker's head and neck injury
fracture on head,  protruding muscle and fat from neck

THE TREATMENT Harker was delivered to the KBSTRRC on 9/27/98,
the day after Snead died.
The wounds were irrigated and ringer's lactate was administered IP.
On 10/5/98 Harker was driven to the North Carolina State University, College of Veterinary Medicine, Veterinary Teaching Hospital.  Here she was attended by Dr. Chittick, Dr. Lewbart and staff.
They stabilized the fractures with 12 surgical screws and wires.
The wounds will not heal in the current state due to the level of contamination and necrosis.

screws and wires on harker
screws and wires to stabilize fractures

PROGNOSIS: Harker has been placed in shallow water below wound level.  Many steps to take before we can project success.
THE PROGRESS: The wounds are flushed every other day with a weak solution of nolvasan or saline.  The wounds are then packed with triple antibiotic ointment and covered with gauze.
She is accepting some food but has lost weight since her arrival.
DOWNDATE 1/04/99: Without fanfare, this terribly injured sea turtle escaped from her pain during the night.  She joins our buddy Snead in that great propellerless ocean in the sky. Farewell brave one.
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