NEW YORK — Like a shining white beacon of hope, the USNS Comfort arrived in New York Monday. A day later, it was time to get down to business: seeing patients.
"We have a whole team of surgical specialists and our whole mission here is to decompress the load of patients that are overwhelming the New York hospital system, taking non-COVID emergency surgery patients on board to relieve them of whatever medical emergencies that are going on," said LCDR Joseph Dougherty, a surgeon.
The Comfort and its medical detachment of 1,100 Navy Medicine sailors, 1,000 hospital beds and 12 operating rooms will provide a full spectrum of medical care including general surgeries, critical care and ward care for adults.
This will allow local New York health professionals to focus on treating COVID-19 patients and for shore-based hospitals to use their Intensive Care Units and ventilators for those patients.
The Comfort crew is happy to play a part.
"So it makes me feel extremely proud to come back home to help the people of this city," said Command Master Chief Todd Mangin. "My best friend still lives here in Queens. And just to see what this entire city is going through and then how the Navy can come out and support is amazing."
The Comfort was also sent to New York after the 9/11 terror attacks in 2001.
So far in this disaster in New York, there have have been 43,139 cases of COVID-19 and 932 deaths.