U.S. Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort delivering Puerto Rico relief
As a hospital ship, Comfort's duties include providing emergency, on-site care for U.S. combatant forces deployed in war or other operations.
Cmdr. Elliot Jessie performs a surgical procedure in an operating room aboard the hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20). U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Danny Ray Nunez Jr.
Surgeries, other medical services performed aboard hospital ship USNS Comfort at various stops around the island; Puerto Rico deployment to minimize suffering after Hurricane Maria
Hospital ship USNS Comfort arrived in the Arecibo-Manati region of Puerto Rico to provide medical services with additional visits being planned around the island. The U.S. Health and Human Services and Puerto Rico Department of Health representatives are prioritizing patients at each stop prior to Comfort’s arrival. The Department of Defense is supporting the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the lead federal agency, in helping those affected by Hurricane Maria to minimize suffering and is one component of the overall whole-of-government response effort.
The USNS prefix identifies the Comfort as a non-commissioned ship owned by the U.S. Navy and operationally crewed by civilians from the Military Sealift Command (MSC). A uniformed naval hospital staff and naval support staff is embarked when Comfort is deployed.
As a hospital ship, Comfort’s duties include providing emergency, on-site care for U.S. combatant forces deployed in war or other operations. Operated by the Military Sealift Command, Comfort provides rapid, flexible, and mobile medical and surgical services to support Marine Corps Air/Ground Task Forces deployed ashore, Army and Air Force units deployed ashore, and naval amphibious task forces and battle forces afloat. Secondarily, she provides mobile surgical hospital service for use by appropriate U.S. government agencies in disaster or humanitarian relief or limited humanitarian care incident to these missions or peacetime military operations. Comfort is more advanced than a field hospital but less capable than a traditional hospital on land.