U.S. Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) completed its fifth and final mission stop of Continuing Promise 2022 (CP22) in Jeremie, Haiti, December 17.
During the seven-day mission stop, the medical team, comprised of professionals from the United States, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Canada, U.K., and Chile, provided medical, dental, optometry, and pediatric care for 1,035 patients and filled 14,012 prescriptions at the medical site located at Wharf de Jeremie.
After completing two days of medical operations, the ship experienced an incident on the night of December 12, resulting in 19 personnel overboard. All personnel were safely recovered. Two sailors were treated for minor injuries and made full recoveries. Operations resumed on December 14, with the U.S. Coast Guard providing safe and reliable transit, via rigid-hull inflatable boats, to and from the medical site.
“No mission stop will have a greater or long-lasting impact on Continuing Promise than Jeremie,” said U.S. Navy Captain Bryan Carmichael, commodore of Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 4. “This mission stop in many ways was the most difficult to execute. Mother Nature and logistical challenges provided for a mishap on day three of operations. However, this team never gives up. It took some time to get the momentum running again, but by the final day of medical site operations, the mission was running smoothly on all cylinders. The great work and lessons learned in Jeremie will positively shape future Continuing Promise missions.”
With the continuation of operations, personnel at the medical site were able to positively impact the lives of over 1,000 people, to include the donation of two wheelchairs, the facilitation of a pediatric cataract surgery through a nongovernmental organization (NGO), New Century International, and new physicians from Ministère de la Santé Publique et de la Population received the opportunity to perform side-by-sides with Comfort medical professionals.
Additionally, this stop allowed U.S. Navy Hospitalman Christie Guerrier, a Haitian native, to reunite with her sister, who lives in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. They conducted patient administration and interpreted at the medical site. This was the first time Hospitalman Guerrier had seen her sister in five years.
The ship also conducted a distinguished visitor tour with Daniel P. Erikson, deputy assistant Secretary of Defense for the Western Hemisphere and Ambassador Eric W. Stromayer, the chief of affairs/deputy chief of Mission at Embassy Port-au-Prince to showcase ship capabilities and operational status.
During the closing ceremony on December 17, Comfort leadership met with local leaders with 26 media outlets in attendance for a gift exchange and the announcement of donations to local medical facilities. The Comfort team compiled 55 pallets of medical supplies and other non-perishable goods from the crew to donate to local NGOs to use in the area.
Since the inauguration of Continuing Promise in 2007, Comfort medical teams have treated more than 484,000 patients, which comprises over 83 percent of the patients treated during all Continuing Promise missions, and conducted more than 7,400 surgeries, including over 800 surgeries during the 2010 earthquake relief mission in Haiti.