Tags: hospital | ship | puerto rico | usns comfort

Hospital Ship in Puerto Rico Has Seen Few Patients

Image: Hospital Ship in Puerto Rico Has Seen Few Patients

In this photo provided by the U.S. Navy, the Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort arrives in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017. (U.S. Air Force Capt. Christopher Merian/U.S. Navy via AP)

By    |   Friday, 20 October 2017 09:20 AM

A Navy hospital ship has sat off the coast of Puerto Rico since Oct. 3, but only 150 people have used it as most of the island's hospitals remain without reliable power, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The USNS Comfort has 250 beds and comes with a staff of 800 medical and support personnel, but has treated about 150 people since its arrival, the newspaper wrote. CNN added Tuesday that only 33 of the 250 beds on the Comfort, roughly 13 percent, are currently being used.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency told CNN that there is an official protocol to get treatment on the state-of-the-art medical ship. The agency said patients need to go their nearest medical facility and if they cannot get care there, can contact the medical coordinating center in San Juan, CNN noted.

The patient from there can be transferred to another hospital or the U.S. Army Combat Support Hospital in Humacao, which has 44 beds, CNN reported. If a patient cannot be helped there, they can be transferred to the Comfort, the broadcaster stated.

"Only patients with critical needs requiring specialized care will be transferred to USNS Comfort," Coast Guard Lt. David Connor, who is working at the FEMA Joint Information Center in San Juan, told CNN.

Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rosselló appeared to suggest that more could be treated at the Comfort and blamed its lack of use on communication, CNN wrote.

"The disconnect or the apparent disconnect was in the communications flow," Rosselló told the broadcaster. "I asked for a complete revision of that so that we can now start sending more patients over there."

The Wall Street Journal wrote that the Puerto Rico Department of Health on Tuesday tweeted out a photo of the USNS Comfort, along with a hotline patients can call for information about health services, including the hospital ship.

Carlos Gomez, who runs the Central Medico emergency room, told the Journal, though, that the ship is still not an outpatient facility and is meant for the critically ill.

The Wall Street Journal added that the Comfort has supplied Puerto Rican hospitals with more than 10 tons of food and water, along with 29,100 liters of oxygen as it moves along the island's north coast.

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A Navy hospital ship has sat off the coast of Puerto Rico since Oct. 3, but only 150 people have used it as most of the island's hospitals remain without reliable power, The Wall Street Journal reported.
hospital, ship, puerto rico, usns comfort
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2017-20-20
Friday, 20 October 2017 09:20 AM
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