Thai "piggy bank" turtle slips into coma after op to remove coins

Omsin, a 25 year old femal green sea turtle, rests after a surgical operation to remove coins from her stomach.
PHOTO: Reuters

BANGKOK - A 25-year-old sea turtle in Thailand slipped into a coma on Sunday after an operation to remove 915 coins from her stomach earlier this month.

The green sea turtle named Omsin, "piggy bank" in Thai, had been finding it hard to swim normally after swallowing 5 kg (11 lb) of coins thrown into her pool for good luck.

Omsin underwent a seven-hour-long operation earlier this month, but concerns rose among Thais after she was rushed to an intensive care unit on Sunday night.

"She is in a coma and breathes very slowly," one of the veterinarians taking care of Omsin told Reuters.

"There's a chance of survival if she can make it through tonight." Nantarika Chansue, of Chulalongkorn University's veterinary science faculty, urged people to pray for Omsin in a Facebook post on Monday.

915 'good luck' coins removed from sea turtle

  • A sea turtle dubbed 'Piggy Bank' for swallowing nearly 1,000 coins took swimming lessons
  • as she embarked on a rehabilitation programme following the removal of the treasure trove by Thai surgeons.
  • Nantarika Chansue, a vet in charge of Chulalongkorn hospital's aquatic research centre, said she was overjoyed by just how much movement Omsin had gained in her flippers since the operation.
  • Chulalongkorn vets say they hope Omsin will one day be able to return to the sea given she could easily live for another 60 years.
  • First they will teach her how to swim and then how to dive - a task that requires her to build up lung strength. Then they will take her for swims in the ocean using a specially designed " turtle-leash" that allows researchers to reel her back in.
  • Thai veterinarians removed 915 coins from a 25-year-old sea turtle which had been swallowing items thrown into her pool for good luck, eventually limiting her ability to swim.
  • The coins and other objects removed from the turtle named Omsin - piggy bank in Thai - weighed 5kg. The turtle itself weighed 59kg.
  • The green sea turtle, living at a conservation centre in Sriracha, Chonburi, east of the Thai capital of Bangkok, had been finding it hard to swim normally because of the weight.
  • The vets said they believed the seven-hour-long operation was the world's first such surgery.
  • "We think it will take about a month to ensure she will fully recover," said Nantarika Chansue, of Chulalongkorn University's veterinary science faculty, adding that the turtle would need six more months of physical therapy.
  • There was no immediate estimate of the value of the coins, some of them foreign and many corroded.