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    Comfort Replenishes Supplies at Sea to Continue Care

    The Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) replenished its medical supplies, food and other necessities, by connecting with the Henry J. Kaiser-class fleet replenishment oiler USNS Big Horn (T-AO 198) while underway off the coast of San Juan, Puerto Rico, Nov. 6.

    Since departing from Norfolk Sept. 29 to provide humanitarian relief, Sailors aboard Comfort have treated 1,476 patients, performed 147 surgeries and admitted 293 patients. Patients continue to be treated on the ship during its short underway.

    “I am proud of the accomplishments and contributions we’ve made so far in our partnership with the lead federal agency, the health and human services and the Puerto Rican administrators of health and their providers,” said Capt. Kevin Buckley, commanding officer of the military treatment facility aboard Comfort. “Our DMAT [Disaster Medical Assistance Teams] team partnership has worked really well, embedding them with our staff, helping screen patients and relieve human suffering.”

    During Comfort’s time in Puerto Rico, two babies have been delivered on board, a boy and a girl, the first since Haiti in 2010.

    “It has been a really wonderful opportunity for our crew to see and participate in,” said Buckley, discussing the two births. “And the thankfulness of the Puerto Rican people–it’s Americans helping Americans. They’re very appreciative of all the efforts we’ve had, and it shows.”

    Comfort received 193 pallets from Big Horn during the underway replenishment to sustain the crew and operate in Puerto Rico. The replenishment not only encompassed food, like most naval replenishments at sea, but also needed medical supplies for patients.

    “There are medical supplies we need to keep frozen or chilled so we keep them in freezers or chill boxes and limit exposure to the elements on the transit down from Norfolk,” said Cmdr. Scott Stahl, supply officer aboard Comfort. “It was a total team effort, the civilian mariners and military working together to bring on 165 pallets via VERTREP [vertical replenishment] and 28 pallets via CONREP [connected replenishment]. We work really well with the crew here.”

    Comfort is a seagoing medical treatment facility that currently has more than 850 personnel embarked for the Puerto Rico mission including Navy medical and support staff assembled from 22 commands, as well as over 70 civil service mariners.

    The Department of Defense is supporting the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which coordinates all federal assistance requested by the government of Puerto Rico to help those affected by Hurricane Maria.

    Comfort’s 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. Comfort’s secondary mission is to provide full hospital services to support U.S. disaster relief and humanitarian operations worldwide.



    Date Taken: 11.06.2017
    Date Posted: 11.07.2017 18:03
    Story ID: 254370
    Location: PR

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