USNS Comfort Undertakes Mass Casualty Drill

The hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) held a mass casualty drill, Dec. 11, as the ship prepares for Spring participation in the humanitarian assistance deployment Continuing Promise 2015.

During the drill, medical personnel and participants were exposed to a new level of realism as the “patients” wore surgical “cut suits” to mimic the look, feel and smell of severe trauma injuries. The prostheses some participants wore allowed physicians to safely perform realistic procedures on the patients.

Naval Medical Center Portsmouth’s (NMCP) Healthcare Simulation Center coordinated the simulation aspect of the drill, bringing the cut suits on board, as well as high-fidelity mannequins that can be programmed to move, speak and respond to healthcare providers.

Medical personnel from NMCP and other East Coast medical treatment facilities trained Dec. 8 – 12 during the sixth COMFEX, or Comfort Exercise, in anticipation of being called to provide support to service members on the battlefield or responding to a medical disaster, as well as continuing to prepare for upcoming humanitarian missions.

The healthcare providers came to the ship skilled and ready to care for patients, but had to learn shipboard procedures, such as transferring patients between units, ordering laboratory tests and the location of medical supplies.

This COMFEX was the sixth time that more than 200 doctors, nurses and came together to practice caring for simulated patients.

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Press release, Image: US Navy