Navy Medicine Responds to Haiti Earthquake Disaster

USS Comfort

The Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort. Continuing Promise combines
U.S. military and interagency personnel, non-governmental organizations, civil service mariners,
academic and partner nations to provide medical, dental, veterinary and engineering
services afloat and ashore alongside host nation personnel.
(U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Jessica Snow/Released)

Washington, D.C.–(ENEWSPF)– U.S. Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery (BUMED), headquarters of Navy Medicine, responded swiftly with humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts in the devastating aftermath of a 7.0 earthquake felt in Haiti’s capital Jan. 12.

The Navy hospital ship, USNS Comfort (T-AH 20), homeported in Baltimore, deployed Jan. 16 to support the relief efforts in Haiti’s capital along with USS Carl Vinson (CVN 70) and USS Bataan (LHD 5). A medical team of 550 Navy doctors, nurses, technicians and support staff will provide a host of medical services to include primary care, trauma care, pediatric care and orthopedic care upon arrival in Haiti. The medical team is comprised of Navy medical personnel stationed at National Navy Medical Center Bethesda and Naval Hospital Portsmouth.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the Haitian people and all those affected by this devastating earthquake," said Vice Adm. Adam Robinson, U.S. Navy Surgeon General. "This is the meaning of humanitarian assistance- protecting others even when it places us in harm’s way, extending ourselves for the benefit of those in need."

The 894-foot ship has a full spectrum of hospital services to support disaster relief efforts. It has one of the largest trauma facilities in the United States and has four X-rays, one CAT scan unit, an MRI unit, a dental suite, a pharmacy and an optometry and lens laboratory. The ship also maintains up to 5,000 units of blood and can serve as many as 1,000 patients.

"Human suffering moves us to act, and the expeditionary character of our naval and marine forces uniquely positions them to provide assistance as the vanguard of interagency and multinational efforts," said Robinson. "While we still train our forces to fight and win our nation’s wars alongside our allies, we have adopted a serious focus on humanitarian assistance and disaster response to help those in need to attack instability and insecurity so that we help our partner nations create conditions where hope can flourish."

This will be the second time the Comfort will visit Haiti –the last time was in April 2009 for 12 days as part of Continuing Promise 2009.