USNS Comfort Medical Teams Providing Treatments in Colombia
By Dialogo June 11, 2009TUMACO, Colombia – United States military and interagency personnel, non-governmental agency volunteers and partner nation representatives currently assigned to Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) are offering a variety of free medical, dental, veterinary, engineering and educational services here as part of Continuing Promise 2009 (CP09). CP09 is a four-month humanitarian and civic assistance mission through Latin America and the Caribbean. Comfort is scheduled to be in Tumaco until June 17 when it will travel to El Salvador and then Nicaragua. Comfort’s crew offers community members services such as teeth cleanings and extractions, eye exams and glasses and adult and pediatric medical exams. Surgical screenings have also been performed and more than 200 surgical procedures have been scheduled. Surgeries began today. Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Leslye Ruiz, a preventive medicine technician aboard Comfort, has been conducting health assessment questionnaires. “We’re trying to assess the needs of the people here in Tumaco so that we know exactly what they need on the next Continuing Promise mission,” she said. Most medical services are being performed at the temporary medical site at the Max Seidel school. However, the ship is equipped with five operating rooms, 250 patient beds, x-ray machines, a CAT scan unit and pharmacy among other services for those patients being treated on board. “I work in the intensive care on the ship performing post-surgical care for patients,” said Leading Seaman Robert Morgan, a member of the Canadian Armed Forces currently assigned aboard Comfort. “When I’m not working on the ship, I’m at the medical sites working with the public. My time in Tumaco has been very good. This has been a very different experience for me – I’ve never been out in this part of the world before. This has been a real eye-opening and rewarding experience for me,” she said.