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Comfort to Stop in Norfolk After Haiti Mission

American Forces Press Service

NORFOLK, Va., March 12, 2010 – The hospital ship USNS Comfort will arrive at Naval Station Norfolk tomorrow en route to its home port in Baltimore after completing humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations off the coast of Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Comfort left Baltimore Jan. 16 and began supporting humanitarian relief efforts before anchoring off the coast of Port-au-Prince on Jan. 20.

During portions of the relief effort, more than 1,400 medical personnel from the U.S. military and various nongovernmental organizations treated those affected by the earthquake.

Comfort's U.S military and civilian medical personnel treated 871 patients, receiving one patient every six to nine minutes at the height of the recovery effort. Comfort's medical staff also performed 843 surgeries aboard the ship, treating more than 540 critically injured earthquake survivors within the first 10 days.

The hospital ship ran 10 operating rooms at full capacity to care for injured Haitian and American earthquake victims requiring surgical care.

This deployment marks the first time the ship has reached full operational capacity, using all operating rooms and beds, since it was delivered to the Navy in 1987.

Volunteer experts from the Orthopaedic Trauma Association, Project Hope, Operation Smile, National Nurses United, Johns Hopkins Emergency Medicine and other organizations provided the ship's medical team with orthopedic trauma, surgical, nursing and anesthesia support.

The Comfort’s staff worked closely with Haiti's health ministry and health-care professionals from the U.S. Agency for International Development, as well as international relief organizations and nongovernmental organizations, to secure follow-on care for patients in recovery.

The ship is scheduled to return to Baltimore next week.

Comfort is crewed by 67 federally employed civilian mariners who operate and navigate the ship while military and civilian medical personnel operate the shipboard hospital. Between deployments, a small crew of mariners and Navy medical personnel maintains the ship and hospital in a high state of readiness.

When needed, Comfort can be ready to deploy in five days.

(From a Naval Station Norfolk news release.)

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Related Sites:
USNS Comfort
USNS Comfort on Twitter
Special Report: Haiti Earthquake Relief

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