Colombians Travel for Hours to Receive Medical Care from USNS Comfort Crew
By Dialogo June 15, 2009TUMACO, Colombia – More than 800 Colombians from remote regions in the country traveled several hours by land and sea to receive medical care at Max Seidel, the main medical treatment site for the Continuing Promise 2009 (CP09) mission here June 11. The medical site is manned by crewmembers assigned to hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) that provide general medicine, optometry, gynecology, dental, and physical therapy services to patients largely on a first-come, first-served basis for assigned days. However, patient administrators on site made an exception for the waves of hundreds of patients arriving from these outlying villages to provide the care they needed in a timely manner. “I’m happy and proud at the way we have been taking care of these patients,” said Lt. Cmdr. Daniel Daurora, site leader at Max Seidel. “To make this happen for that many people, it goes a long way to show our dedication to help those that are not as fortunate.” Funding and escorting for the transportation of the villagers was made possible with the help of host nation police, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the U.S. Embassy´s Narcotics Affairs Section. “It took a long time to get here, but it was well worth it,” said Juan Castillo, a patient from a remote village outside of Tumaco. “The care I received here has been amazing and everyone I came across at this site has been very caring and respectful.” Castillo was appreciative of the timeliness and organization at medical site. During his visit to Max Seidel he received an eye exam and a pair of reading and sunglasses. "I truly feel blessed to have had the opportunity to receive care from the Comfort’s crew,” said Castillo. “I’m definitely going back to the village to tell my friends and family what great things you are doing for our country.” Comfort is scheduled to be in Colombia until June 17. The next stop is El Salvador where Comfort continues its four-month humanitarian and civic assistance mission in the Caribbean and Latin America in support of CP09.