A U.S. Navy hospital ship called the Comfort is wrapping up its 11-week mission to Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and Honduras where it provided life-saving treatment and top-flight medical care to thousands in need.
“It’s the United States’ promise to Central and South America to continue providing medical care and unity,” said Lieutenant Commander David C. Lloyd. “The Comfort brings hope, wherever it goes.”
U.S. military personnel have been working alongside health and government partners providing care on board and at land-based medical sites since the floating hospital left port in October. This is the sixth time Comfort has deployed to the region. Past missions have provided medical treatment to more than 390,000 patients, including 6,000 surgeries.
The medical specialists are providing extra support to local health care systems that are being overwhelmed by the influx of Venezuelan refugees who are fleeing the corrupt regime of Venezuela’s dictator, Nicolás Maduro. He and his cronies have driven what was once a rich country to the brink of collapse due to widespread corruption and economic mismanagement, causing food shortages, hyperinflation and the collapse of the public health sector.
“The Comfort’s mission to the area of responsibility was designed to help relieve the pressure on national medical systems caused partly by the increase in cross-border migration,” said Captain William K. Shafley III, the Comfort mission commander.
From surgery to dental checks
Smiles from a returning patient
The commanding officer of the Medical Treatment Facility, Captain Kevin Buckley, calls service on the Comfort one of the highlights of his career. He says it has given him the opportunity “to help people and create partnerships.”
This article was written by Daniel Durazo with contributions from Leigh Hartman.