San Juan, Puerto Rico - The Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) got underway Thursday, to provide aid from the sea in Puerto Rico after completing a planning phase in San Juan with local and federal stakeholders to synchronize efforts to provide humanitarian assistance.
"We have laid out a plan for Comfort to operate in the areas that have the most immediate direct need to relieve pressure on local and regional hospitals as directed by the Puerto Rican Department of Health and U.S. Health and Human Services," said Capt. Kevin Robinson, mission commander onboard Comfort.
Additional mission assignments for the Comfort are expected to be scheduled based on assessments by the Department of Defense, Federal Emergency Management Agency and Puerto Rico's Office of Emergency Management and will deploy appropriately to help those needing medical services.
In addition to identifying the medical needs of Puerto Rico, Comfort personnel treated a total of 66 patients during its stay in San Juan, including 10 who were admitted for further care aboard the ship. Comfort staff also hosted a medical summit with local and federal officials, including Gov. Ricardo Rossello, the governor of Puerto Rico and Dr. Jerome Adams, the surgeon general of the United States, to coordinate efforts for the ship's current mission of providing help and concentrating humanitarian assistance throughout the area.
The Comfort's enduring 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. Its secondary mission is to provide full hospital services to support U.S. disaster relief and humanitarian operations worldwide.