The US Navy’s Hospital ship – the USNS Comfort – is on its way to Port-au-Prince. It’s already seeing trauma patients airlifted to the ship from an aircraft carrier off the coast of Haiti. Situations like this are where hospital ships earn their keep.
While they are often criticized – by me, among others – for their missions to developing countries, at a time like this a hospital ship is invaluable. Carrying a full-service surgical hospital and staffed with experienced combat surgeons, the USNS Comfort can perform the kind of complex surgery that earthquake victims require. It can take evacuated patients that field hospitals aren’t set up to treat.
I was unexpectedly touched by the preparations crew members are making for the trip to Haiti. They’re hot-bunking the ship crew so they can bring more people, they are being asked to limit their drinking water consumption, and they have disassembled the ship’s common rooms and exercise space to make room for patients.
The USNS Comfort is blogging its trip to Haiti at the Baltimore Sun. So far they’ve got details of the earthquake aftershock and their first patients