: News

Filed Under:

USNS Comfort Prepares For Haiti Mission

Play associated audio

By Rebecca Sheir

The U.S. Navy Ship Comfort, based in Baltimore, will join other American vessels headed to Haiti. When it arrives it will be the only floating hospital there.

Ask Lieutenant Commander Thomas Olivero, who oversees the ship's operating room, what he expects to see in Haiti, and he'll be frank.

"I really don't know," he says, "but I can plan for the worst."

And what's the worst?

"The most complicated trauma patients you can think of: burn patients, crush injuries, fractures, head injuries," says Olivero.

"And then you think on the medicine side: dehydration, malnutrition. Especially the little kids - they're not eating, they're not drinking," he says. "They're gonna have problems."

And that's where the nearly 900-foot Comfort comes in. Chris Walz, a spokesperson for the U.S. Navy, says they're loading the ship with supplies.

"We need to make sure we have blood, we have sutures, we have splints," he says. "So when we go down there we're gonna be the hospital. And that's what we need to make sure that our mission is."

The Comfort's crew is preparing 250 beds, four operating rooms and eight intensive care units. Olivero says it's the ship's largest humanitarian mission in 20 years.

"You're talking about a lot of people that are coming on board: 5,600 staff members at once. This is big. It's gonna be huge," he says.

The Navy expects the Comfort to arrive in Haiti by next Friday.

NPR

On Television, More Transgender Characters Come Into Focus

Now that it's more common to see gay characters on TV, is the medium turning to transgender people for fresh stories? NPR's Neda Ulaby looks at TV's crop of transgender and "gender fluid" characters.
NPR

Obama Gets A Taste Of Jiro's 'Dream' Sushi In Name Of Diplomacy

On the first leg of his Asian tour, the president stopped by the iconic sushi restaurant. David Gelb, who directed a documentary about the restaurant, says eating there is amazing and nerve-wracking.
NPR

Pennsylvania Congresswoman Goes All In For Obamacare

Does Rep. Allyson Schwartz's pro-Affordable Care Act television ad signal a new thinking among Democrats running in statewide races?
NPR

Reports: FCC Poised For About-Face On Net Neutrality

According to reports, the FCC is set to approve a system in which Internet service providers offer a faster pipe to American homes to content companies willing to pay for it.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.