Saturday 25 November 2017

Turtle dies after ingesting hundreds of coins that people threw into her tank 'for good luck'

Omsin rests next to a tray of coins that were removed from her stomach at the Faculty of Veterinary Science, Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand Athit Perawongmetha/Reuters
Omsin rests next to a tray of coins that were removed from her stomach at the Faculty of Veterinary Science, Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand Athit Perawongmetha/Reuters

Patpicha Tanakasempipat

A 25-year-old Thai sea turtle has died from blood poisoning, never recovering from an operation to remove 915 coins from her stomach, thrown into her pool for good luck, veterinarians said.

The green turtle named Omsin, “piggy bank” in Thai, underwent a seven-hour-long operation this month to remove 5 kg (11 lb) of coins which she had mistaken for food.

25-year-old green sea turtle
25-year-old green sea turtle "Bank" receives rehabilitation treatment at the Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand, Friday (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)
Omsin, a 25 year old femal green sea turtle, rests after a surgical operation to remove coins from her stomach at the Faculty of Veterinary Science, Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand March 6, 2017. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha
Officers count coins that were removed from the stomach of Omsin, a 25 year old femal green sea turtle, after a surgical operation at the Faculty of Veterinary Science, Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand March 6, 2017. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

But Omsin, who lived at a conservation centre in Chonburi, east of the Thai capital Bangkok, was rushed into intensive care on Sunday night, breathing too slowly. She received an emergency operation on Monday, after which she went into a coma.

Her fate had preoccupied Thais, who cherish turtles as a symbol of longevity, and the vets had urged people to pray for her recovery.

“Her cause of death is blood poisoning,” one of the vets told reporters.

The gap in Omsin's stomach left by the removal of the coins caused her intestine to become strangled, blocking blood flow, the vets said. Acute infection in the intestine then caused blood infection.

They also said they would perform an autopsy on Omsin as a case study, which would benefit the treatment of turtles in the future.

“She is our teacher,” another vet said.

Independent News Service

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