BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore’s floating hospital is on another mission to help those in need.
Andrea Fujii reports the USNS Comfort left Thursday morning for Central America and the Caribbean, and it’s not just humans they’ll be helping.
The USNS Comfort had an early morning departure. The Comfort will be providing medical care for five months to nine countries — Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Jamaica, Nicaragua and Peru.
“Providing surgical care, family practice, dental, optometry, things that they just can’t get,” said Andrew Johnson, hospital corpsman.
The USNS Comfort is a hospital ship docked at the Canton pier. This trip’s been a year in the making.
“We’ll actually be able to make false teeth and make ‘em smile where they’re missing their front tooth. It’s little things like that that will make a big impact,” said Chief Amanda Doolitte, dental unit.
In January 2010, the ship travelled to earthquake-ravaged Haiti to help thousands of people. On this humanitarian mission, they hope to do the same.
“For me this represents the best things America has to offer, the ability to reach out and lend a helping hand,” said Captain David Weiss, commanding officer.
The patients also provide comfort to the 480 Navy medical personnel.
“Every time I leave a new place I have new friends, new contacts I keep in touch with,” said Grant Begley, Civil Service Mariner.
This is USNS Comfort’s sixth “continuing promise” mission. The Comfort has helped more than 300,000 people worldwide.
Besides human medical services, the USNS Comfort will provide veterinary care.