Hospital ship USNS Comfort heading for Puerto Rico

US Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 19), with over 700 navy medicine personnel aboard, is set to sail for Puerto Rico and hurricane relief efforts on April 29.

A total of approximately 750 navy medicine staff is what it is needed to complete the medical manning needs to support the 250-bed ship capability specific to this mission as defined by the US defense department.

Based on the nature of the medical mission, Navy Medicine East (NME) relies on medical personnel across its region spanning the eastern hemisphere.

The planning that goes into the selection of personnel is significant. Not only must the proper manning be achieved on the hospital ship, but it must be achieved in a way to minimize any disruptions to existing patient care at the shore-based command sending the personnel to the hospital ship.

For this particular mission, the medical personnel are coming from 11 different facilities, from Pensacola to North Carolina — the bulk from Naval Medical Center Portsmouth (NMCP). Along with key medical personnel, ranging from pediatricians and surgeons to nurse practitioners and surgical technicians, the mix of personnel critical to support this relief mission includes experts in areas such as culinary services, administration, materials management, medical equipment repair and information technology

Navy Medicine is a global health care network of 63,000 personnel that provide health care support to the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, their families and veterans in high operational tempo environments, at expeditionary medical facilities, medical treatment facilities, hospitals, clinics, hospital ships and research units around the world.