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Comfort Strengthens Partnership with Haiti Following Successful Medical Mission

By Petty Officer 2nd Class Bobby Siens

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PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti -- The hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) departed Port-au-Prince, Haiti, following the completion of the ship’s twelfth and final medical mission in Central America, South America, and the Caribbean, Nov. 11.

“Haiti is the last stop of the U.S. Navy’s ‘Enduring Promise’ five-month mission in Latin America, Central America, and the Caribbean,” said Michele Sison, U.S. Ambassador to Haiti. “This visit has again displayed the strong ties between our two countries; as friends and neighbors, our two nations work together to make life better for all. We support the Haitian people’s aspirations for a better life. It truly is an enduring promise.”

During the six-day mission in Port-au-Prince, more than 900 medical professionals provided care for 3,603 patients at one shore-based medical site and performed 76 surgeries aboard the ship.

“Offering quality healthcare to a population suffering from all kinds of harm was the motivation of the USNS Comfort this past week,” said Normil Rameau, general director of Haiti’s national police. “I want to emphasize the level of empathy and the degree of humanity the personnel of the hospital ship showed in the care provided to our brothers and sisters of Haiti.”

During the ship’s stop, they learned that a local hospital’s maternity program was in need of an important medicine.

“We were informed through formal channels that there was a patient with eclampsia,” said Cmdr. Todd Morris, director of medical services aboard Comfort. “The treatment is to provide an anti-seizure medication, specifically magnesium sulfate. We were able to find the medicine and transport it safely to the hospital to help the patient.”

The medicine was able to help multiple patients and local aide providers were exceptionally appreciative.

“You can imagine how stymied we were, as a high risk maternity center,” said Father Rick Frechette, an American priest and founder of St. Luke Foundation Hospital. “We take our hats off to [Comfort], for coming to our rescue with this life-saving drug.”

Comfort’s team consists of more than 900 personnel, including medical specialists from the U.S. military, non-governmental organizations volunteers, and personnel from partner nations.

Comfort’s mission is accomplished through the efforts of medical and non-medical personnel. The entire Comfort team is comprised of military and civilian personnel from the United States and partner nations, including Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Mexico, and Peru, as well as several non-government organizations creating a dynamic team capable of delivering a variety of services.

Adm. Craig Faller, commander, U.S. Southern Command, visited the crew to thank them for the work put forth during their visit to Port-au-Prince.

“Each of you should leave this mission knowing that you made a difference,” said Faller. “I’m proud for the difference that we made here in Haiti; every little bit matters.”

This marks the sixth Comfort visit to Haiti and the seventh to the region since 2007. This deployment is a part of the U.S. Southern Command’s Enduring Promise initiative and reflects the United States’ ongoing commitment to friendship, partnership, and solidarity with partner nations in the Caribbean, Central America, and South America.

For more information, visit www.facebook.com/NAVSOUS4THFLT, www.dvidshub.net/feature/comfort2019, and www.navy.mil.

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