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Article about efforts to help injured animals cites dolphin project

Diane Mitchell ’05 is pictured on page 50 of the Sept. 3 issue of Time magazine, holding the tail that is helping an injured dolphin swim again. The photo accompanies an article, “Fake Fins, Plastic Paws,” about doctors’ efforts to “rebuild” injured animals and how they are leading to breakthroughs for disabled people.

Mitchell is manager of animal care operations/stranding coordinator at Clearwater (Fla.) Marine Aquarium. The story mentions the work being done to rehabilitate Winter, an Atlantic Bottlenose dolphin.

An excerpt from the Time article:

“Winter, a dolphin that lives at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium in Florida and is completely tailless as a result of an injury from a crab trap, presents a much bigger challenge. Hanger Orthopedic Group in Bethesda, Md., thinks it can help, using a sticky, gel-like material to create suction between the damaged limb and the prosthesis that will help hold it in place. The detachable tail may leave Winter too vulnerable to return to the wild but will allow her to swim again. What’s more, the gel lubricates just enough that it helps protect against irritation. That led Hanger to recommend it to a legless solider who had been suffering from recurrent infections. Since then, his skin has cleared up, and now he can tolerate his prostheses again.”

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