Hospital Corpsman 3rd Class Alex Berry, a St. Louis native, is serving aboard the hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) in support of the nation's COVID-19 response efforts.
As a surgical technologist, Berry is responsible for sterilizing equipment to be used in surgery, and he assists the surgeon in the operating room.
“One of the main things we do is ensure high-quality in-patient care,” said Berry. “When we go into the (operating) room we need to make sure that all of the surgical instrumentation is sterile and ready for patient use.”
As a part of the sterile processing department, Berry plays an important role in Mercy’s mission.
“This is important to me because we could sail in and this could be my family on the ship, my friend on the ship, any of my fellow Americans on the ship,” said Berry. “I take pride in my job. I want to make sure that we can provide the best care possible for anyone that comes on.”
Mercy departed Naval Base San Diego with more than 800 Navy medical personnel and support staff from the afloat medical treatment facility (MTF), and over 70 civil service mariners.
Mercy will serve as a referral hospital for non-COVID-19 patients currently admitted to shore-based hospitals. This allows those hospitals to focus their efforts on COVID-19 cases.
Mercy’s tasking aligns under one of the Department of Defense's (DOD) missions, which is Defense Support of Civil Authorities. DOD is supporting the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the lead federal agency, as well as state, local and public health authorities to help protect the health and safety of the American people.