Navy hospital ship USNS Comfort departs for Puerto Rico with medical supplies and staff


HAMPTON, VA – SEPTEMBER 29: USNS Comfort, the naval hospital ship, leaves the harbor as USS McFaul (DDG-74) is seen in the background September 29, 2017 in Hampton, Virginia. The USNS Comfort is being deployed to support relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

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NORFOLK, Va — The Military Sealift Command hospital ship USNS Comfort has deployed from Norfolk and is headed to Puerto Rico to support relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria.

The ship departs with 522 medical personnel and support staff, along with 70 civil service mariners.

The Navy says the medical personnel will include a full spectrum of medical care including general practice, family medicine, nephrology, and pediatrics.

CBS News reports the hospital ship is expected to arrived no later than Tuesday. It is equipped with sufficient medical supplies for at least 30 days and could restock later.  The ship is capable of taking in up to 200 patients a day, with 250 beds for this particular mission.

USNS Comfort is one of two Mercy-class hospital ships. It has one of the largest trauma facilities and when activated can transition to full operating status in five days, which includes a crew of civil service mariners, Navy medical personnel. The ship maintains 5,000 units of blood and has up to a 1,000 bed capacity. The hospital is equipped with four X-ray machines, one CAT scan unit, a dental suite, an optometry and lens laboratory, physical therapy center, pharmacy, angiography suite, and two oxygen-producing plants.

The Comfort has previously been sent as relief for Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, providing treatment to 1,500 people.

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