Comfort Crew Arrives in Haiti to Prepare Medical Treatment Facilities


Story Number: NNS090411-05Release Date: 4/11/2009 7:12:00 PM
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By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Marcus Suorez

PORT-au-PRINCE, Haiti (NNS) -- Crew members from hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) arrived in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, April 9 to prepare for providing medical treatment to Haitians.

At Cite Soleil, one of the two medical clinics in the Haitian capital, the crew familiarized themselves with the area, facilities and set up mission-essential equipment.

"Today our goal is to get out here and see what we have - so far, so good," said Chief Hospital Corpsman (FMF/SW) John Weber, an independent duty corpsman. "We are extremely happy with what we have out here as far as the facilities and the supplies the government had to offer."

The Haitian government provided a privately-owned cargo holding site for the medical staff members to use as treatment and screening facility in an area needing of medical treatment. The government also provided bottled water, tents, chairs, toilets, garbage service, forklifts and transportation for staff members once on shore.

"They provided us with everything we needed," said Navy Capt. Michael Pattison, an optometrist aboard Comfort.
"The facilities are great, and the location is amazing. The people in this area are in need of our help, and we are very well-located to help as many as we can."

"Today was a preparation day to get a feel of the flow of patients, and that was accomplished," Pattison said. "The biggest thing was getting our feet on the ground and getting an understanding of how things work. Tomorrow, when patient care begins, we'll be prepared, and we'll be ready to help the locals."

When the crew unloaded gear, Haitians offered a helping hand.

"The Haitians were swooping in to help out and doing everything they could to help us get set up," Pattison said. "It was great watching them help our guys out and how excited they were to do it. They really helped us get things done today."

Comfort is on a four-month humanitarian and civic assistance mission to Latin America and the Caribbean.

Navy Lt. Albert Cruz, a foreign area officer who has been in Haiti for nine days as part of an advance coordination element, said one of the goals of Continuing Promise 2009 is to build relations, and that is done by working hand-in-hand with the Haitian people.

"We're here to work beside the host nation in cooperative partnership ensuring in the partnership of the Americas," Cruz said. "The overall goal and intent is cooperation and assistance for all of those in the country who need assisting."

For more news from USNS Comfort (T-AH 20), visit www.navy.mil/local/tah20/.

 
 
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