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USNS Mercy Begins Treating Patients in Los Angeles

March 30, 2020 | BY NAVY PETTY OFFICER 2ND CLASS NATALIE BYERS

The Navy hospital ship USNS Mercy has accepted its first patients in Los Angeles during its support of the nation's COVID-19 response efforts.


''I couldn’t be more proud of our crew for all the hard work they did to get us here and ready in such a short time,'' said Navy Capt. (Dr.) John Rotruck, the Mercy Military Treatment Facility commanding officer. ''Being able to accept our first patients is a true testament of the teamwork between Mercy, the Navy, the State of California, the county of Los Angeles, and the city and Port of L.A.''

Three sailors put on surgical gowns.
Mercy Prep
Sailors prepare to admit a patient aboard the hospital ship USNS Mercy in Los Angeles, March 29, 2020. The Mercy is serving as a referral hospital for non-COVID-19 patients, allowing local hospitals to focus their efforts on COVID-19 cases.
Photo By: Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Abigayle Lutz
VIRIN: 200329-N-FK318-1074


While in Los Angeles, the ship will serve as a referral hospital for non-COVID-19 patients currently admitted to shore-based hospitals, and will provide a full spectrum of medical care, including general surgeries, critical care and ward care for adults. This will allow local health professionals to focus on treating COVID-19 patients and for shore-based hospitals to use their intensive care units and ventilators for those patients.

''The men and women embarked on board Mercy are energized, eager, and ready to provide relief to those in need,'' Rotruck said.

Three sailors wearing masks and gloves tend to a patient in a hospital bed.
Medical Work
Sailors assigned to the hospital ship USNS Mercy admit a patient in Los Angeles, March 29, 2020. The Mercy is serving as a referral hospital for non-COVID-19 patients, allowing local hospitals to focus their efforts on COVID-19 cases.
Photo By: Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Erwin Jacob Miciano
VIRIN: 200329-N-VI515-1154


The Mercy is manned for the mission by Navy medical and support staff assembled from 22 commands, as well as more than 70 civil service mariners. Its primary mission is to provide an afloat, mobile, acute surgical medical facility to the U.S. military that is flexible, capable and uniquely adaptable to support expeditionary warfare, officials said. The ship's secondary mission is to provide full hospital services to support U.S. disaster relief and humanitarian operations worldwide.

The U.S. 3rd Fleet is operating as the Maritime Command Element West for U.S. Naval Forces Northern Command, under U.S. Northern Command for defense support of civil authorities in support of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the lead agency.

(Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Natalie Byers is assigned to the U.S. 3rd Fleet.)