U.S. Military’s Medical Role in Haiti Declines
By Navy Lt. Jennifer Cragg
Special to American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, March 5, 2010 It’s been a week since the last Haitian patient was treated aboard the U.S. Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort, as the need for immediate medical attention is declining two months after a magnitude 7 earthquake struck the island nation, the Joint Task Force-Haiti surgeon said.
“The Comfort currently has no Haitian patients aboard,” Army Col. (Dr.) Jennifer Menetrez told bloggers yesterday during a DoDLive bloggers roundtable. “The last patient was discharged from the Comfort on Feb. 27.”
The hospital beds and hallways of the Comfort are now empty of Haitian patients, Menetrez said. Meanwhile, she said, the Comfort remains on station to provide any follow-on care as needed by the Haitian government.
“Over the last 10 days, we’ve seen over a 65 percent reduction in patients onboard the [Comfort] as they have been appropriately transferred to local hospitals for follow-on care,” she added.
This follow-on care is being supported by the numerous mobile and on-site clinics that have been set up to give continued treatment to victims of the Jan. 12 earthquake.
“To date, there are 130 mobile clinics and 156 on-site clinics,” Menetrez said. “The collaboration between military, government of Haiti and [U.S. Agency for International Development] continues to be wonderful. Collaboration between all parties has been a milestone of a unified response through a challenging event.”
Since the Comfort arrived on station, she said, U.S. military medical personnel have provided care to more than 8,600 Haitian residents.
“Of the 8,600 patients seen, the U.S. military surgeons performed close to 1,000 surgeries, primary care physicians conducted over 7,200 outpatient visits and oversaw the care of 1,300 for post surgical care within the hospital wards,” Menetrez said.
(Navy Lt. Jennifer Cragg works in the Defense Media Activity’s Emerging Media Directorate)