Lazarus is a juvenile loggerhead sea turtle who was stranded on a beach in Garden City, SC. This struggling sea turtle that was found lethargic and near death, was named “Lazarus” for her miracle of life. When she was brought to the sea turtle hospital her only obvious injuries were two old fish hooks embedded into the skin on her flipper and neck. However it was clear that Lazarus was suffering from more than surface wounds. This sea turtle had been ill and without an appetite for weeks or even months.
Upon the sea turtle’s arrival to the hospital, she was given immediate treatment. Just one hour later Lazarus began exhibiting the classic signs of sea turtle death. She threw her head up, gasped for air, flailed her flippers, and her eyes sunk deep into her skull. The vet quickly administered adrenaline to stimulate the heart and placed a tube down her throat to control her breathing.
Five days had passed since her arrival and she still had no desire to eat. In effort to start Lazarus on a normal digestive path they began tube-feeding her small amounts of gruel. Ten minutes later she again exhibited signs of death and was rushed to the medical lab for another life-saving treatment of adrenaline, fluids, and assisted breathing. It was that day that they named her Lazarus, for not only was she the first sea turtle that they ever brought back to life, but they did it twice!
Three weeks later Lazarus finally chewed and swallowed a small amount of mackerel. This was a huge step in her recovery; however they had to carefully monitor the amount of food she consumed, for her digestive system had ceased from long-term anorexia. Once she was able to digest some food, the underlying problem was clear. Lazarus had passed a small amount of fishing line and two different pieces of plastic in her feces, leading them to believe that there was likely more foreign matter littering her digestive tract.
Two months later Lazarus had a complete turnaround. She went from being a finicky eater to eagerly consuming nearly a pound and a half of fish every day! She gained 11 pounds since her admission and her blood work results indicated that she was regaining her health. Lazarus had transformed from a skeletal turtle too weak to swim into a robust and thriving loggerhead splashing around her tank. Ten months later Lazarus proved to be strong in every category and was released on April 10th, 2015.