USNS Comfort’s Medical Teams Help Hundreds
By Dialogo April 01, 2010
The USNS Comfort’s 1,000-bed capacity was maxed out quickly when it arrived
Januaru 19, 2010, in Haiti to treat patients who had suffered infections and serious
injuries as a result of the earthquake a week earlier. Designed as a floating
emergency room for treating combat injuries, the Baltimore-based U.S. military
hospital ship treated more than 850 patients in the eight weeks the USNS Comfort was
stationed off Haiti’s coast.
“Because we had been here before, and because we had good relationships with
the Ministry of Health and other humanitarian organizations, we were called to
assist the next day after the earthquake by our government. Our staff was eager to
come and help the Haitian people,” said Navy Capt. James Ware, commanding officer of
the medical treatment facility aboard the USNS Comfort.
This floating hospital has every specialist available, with a large portion
of medical aid devoted to surgeries. Capt. Ware met with Diálogo during a visit to
the USNS Comfort along with Colombian military doctors and Red Cross personnel days
before the ship completed its humanitarian mission in Haiti on March 8.
More than 1,400 Navy medical professionals and support personnel came
together with civil mariners and nongovernmental volunteers to provide critical
support to the multinational effort in Haiti. “On the first days, we had a
helicopter landing every 10 minutes, bringing two more patients each time. People’s
experiences and the lessons they learned will affect the way we treat
earthquake-related injuries in the future. I am very proud of the crew,” Capt. Ware