A giant seagoing turtle that was rescued from a beach in the US in May, and named after Florence Nightingale, has been released back into the ocean after a full recovery from injury.
As previously reported by Nursing Times, the turtle was found stranded and with chronic debilitation on a beach in Florida.
It was taken to the Loggerhead Marinelife Center (LMC), which rehabilitates sea turtles from rescue to release.
Staff there told Nursing Times that they wanted to recognise the efforts of nurses everywhere in tackling the coronavirus pandemic by naming their sea turtle patient “Nightingale”.
As well as the profession’s key role against Covid-19, they said they also wanted to mark 2020 as the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife and to honour Florence Nightingale’s 200th birthday.
The centre got back in touch with Nursing Times this month to reveal that Nightingale was being released back into the ocean after successful treatment lasting for nearly four months.
The happy event took place on 10 September on Florida’s Juno Beach, behind the Loggerhead Marinelife Center, with the release captured on video through the use of a drone with a camera.
Dr Charlie Manire, LMC’s director of research and rehabilitation, said: “It came naturally to name this sea turtle patient ‘Nightingale’ to honour the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birthday and the frontline workers who followed in her footsteps to serve during Covid-19.
“It’s also somewhat poetic, too, considering we took in this patient at the peak of the pandemic and now we’ve released ‘Nightingale’ at a time when there’s a glimmer of hope for a vaccine.”
The juvenile sea turtle was found with chronic debilitation resulting from long-term starvation and was treated with parenteral nutrition, including antibiotics and fluids.
The original problem could be caused by a parasite that led to huge ulcers in the colon, which blocked the absorption of nutrients from the gastrointestinal tract, or by a mechanical blockage of the tract, such as when a large fishing hook might get lodged in the oesophagus for months.