A giant seagoing turtle that was rescued from a beach in the US has been named after Florence Nightingale, in recognition of the efforts of nurses in tackling the coronavirus pandemic.
The large reptile, which was found stranded and with chronic debilitation, 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 nurses everywhere by naming their sea turtle patient “Nightingale”.
“We hope that we can demonstrate a token of our appreciation through this naming initiative”
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.
Lauren Eissey, a spokeswoman for the centre, said: “At LMC, we wanted to recognise our modern frontline heroes and the nurse who was a trailblazer in her time – Florence Nightingale.”
The large, juvenile sea turtle was found stranded on Jensen Beach in Florida with chronic debilitation, which can be caused by anything that leads to failure of nutrition intake.
Essentially, chronic debilitation was the result of long-term starvation of any cause, said Ms Eissey.
It was mostly caused by a parasite – a blood fluke – that led to huge ulcers in the colon, which blocked the absorption of nutrients from the gastrointestinal tract, she noted.
“In those cases, the turtles can be eating plenty of food, but are unable to digest and absorb it,” she said.
She added that it could also be caused by a mechanical blockage of the GI tract, such as when a large fishing hook might get lodged in the oesophagus for months, thereby, preventing ingestion of food.
Ms Eissey told Nursing Times that Nightingale the turtle was currently receiving treatment ahead of its planned release back into the wild.
“Until the patient is cleared for release, the sea turtle will receive parenteral nutrition, to help speed its recovery, including antibiotics and fluids,” she said.
She added: “We hope that we can demonstrate a token of our appreciation through this naming initiative.”