By Luke Balsamo, MD
Naval Medical Center Portsmouth
When disaster strikes, the USNS COMFORT responds. The effects of Hurricane Maria have been widely felt in Puerto Rico and the USNS COMFORT has been dispatched to help. The COMFORT is a seagoing medical treatment facility that can accommodate up to 1000 patients, perform surgery in one of its 12 operating rooms and even distill water. When not in use, the ship operates with a skeleton crew but can surge in times of need to over 1,200 Navy physicians, nurses, and corpsmen.
Two of NMCP’s orthopaedic surgeons are onboard the COMFORT assisting with disaster relief. CDR James Hammond and LCDR Matt Stepanovich have been busy working with the mission of the ship. James is a shoulder/upper extremity specialist and Matt is trained in pediatrics. We wish them well in the waters off Puerto Rico and hope for a speedy return. To follow the ship and its mission, follow it on the NMCP Facebook page.