NORFOLK, Va. – The USNS Comfort, a Navy hospital ship providing medical assistance in response to the regional impacts of the Venezuela political and economic crisis, completed its first medical mission of 2019 Wednesday.
According to the Navy, during Comfort’s six-day medical mission in Manta, Ecuador, 320 medical professionals of the United States Navy and seven partner nations provided care for 7,799 patients and performed more than 120 surgeries aboard the ship.
“What we have accomplished over the past week will far outlast the ship’s visit to the region,” said Captain Brian Diebold, commander of Task Force 49. “The medical staff has shared with me countless moving stories — from children getting their first pair of glasses to grandparents being able to see for the first time in years after a cataract surgery. It is truly remarkable what we are capable of when we work together.”
Comfort’s team is made up of both civilian and military personnel, and delivers a variety of services during its mission stops, the Navy said.
This marks the seventh hospital ship deployment to the region since 2007 as part of the U.S. Southern Command’s Enduring Promise initiative.