NORFOLK, Va. (NNS) -- The hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) will arrive at Naval Station Norfolk Mar. 13, en route to homeport in Baltimore, after completing humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations off the coast of Port-au-Prince, Haiti, as part of the international mission, Operation Unified Response.
Comfort deployed from the Port of Baltimore, bound for Haiti, Jan. 16 and began supporting humanitarian relief efforts before anchoring off the coast of Port-au-Prince Jan. 20.
During portions of the relief effort, more than 1,400 medical personnel from the U.S. military and various non governmental organizations (NGOs) were embarked and 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, utilizing 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, John Hopkins Emergency Medicine and other NGOs provided the ship's medical team with orthopedic trauma, surgical, nursing and anesthesia support.
During the ship's mission, Comfort worked closely with Haiti's Ministry of Health and health care professionals from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), international relief organizations and NGOs to secure follow-on care for patients in recovery.
Comfort 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. When not deployed, Comfort is kept pierside in Baltimore where a small crew of mariners and Navy medical personnel maintain the ship and hospital in a high state of readiness. When needed, Comfort can be ready to deploy in five days.
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