The USNS Comfort along with its sister ship, the Mercy, is the largest hospital ship in the world.
The twin ships are actually oil tankers-turned-floating hospitals — each the height of a 10-story building and the length of three football fields.
It is one of the largest trauma facilities in the United States with more than 700 medical personnel, 5,000 units of blood and 12 operating rooms.
The USNS Comfort will sail around South and Central America, and the Caribbean islands, and recently docked in Kingston, Jamaica as part of a humanitarian mission called Continuing Promise.
Jamaica was the third of 11 stops and for the next five months during of which time the ship will care for more than 100,000 patients.
Captain Christine Sears, Urologist and the chief medical officer and actually her first aboard said, “One on one as a surgeon you can help one person at a time, and that’s very dramatic and very fulfilling,” (But) being able to reach more people … is such a blessing, to be able to lead and help more people.”
The projected cost of $40 million is funded by the U.S. government with donations from NGOs, each country gets roughly 30-40 pallets of supplies and whatever is left-over automatically donated to the host nation.
The Comfort is a fully operational vessel, with engineers, flight crews, cleaning staff, and kitchen chefs to feed 1,000 personnel, three times a day. It is truly a massive effort on all fronts, more than just doctors, nurses and medical staff.
Luckily for the Jamaicans, the hospital ships set up medical stations in gymnasiums and existing clinics, providing services including general surgery, pediatric care, cardiology, women’s health, eye exams, dentistry and everything in between.
Jamaican doctors also helped with the operation and will continue follow-up check-ups whenever necessary. Also, a big part of the mission was to capably train Jamaican medics.