Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Day 10; How we transfered patients on and off the ship...

This is my home at sea. It is the USNS Comfort. It is a non-commissioned ship owned by the US Navy and crewed by civilians. She was origianlly an oil tanker named the S.S. Rose City.They literally carved out the tank and dropped a hospital inside.She has a total patient capacity of 1000 beds and 12 operating rooms. In addition she houses 2 oxygen producing plants and 4 distilling plants that make drinking water from sea water (300,000 gallons a day). She also has a flight deck that can handle the world's largest military helicopters.
    I had heard many rumors before joining the Comfort about how I would get on and off the ship. They included but were not limited to jumping into a life raft and being dropped (lowered quickly) over the side, being helicoptered on and off as well as other nightmare inducing transfers for someone who is a little terrified of large bodies of water. I should now confess I sometimes use water wings in the tub. I'm happy to report that all the transfers I made to and from the ship were far more civilized. We took this boat to this lower opening and climbed a wheelchair accessible ramp inside.

And the patients did the same. Then in reverse order they would be returned to shore.This is truly an exercise in everyone doing their small part to make a BIG thing happen. I'm greatful to have been included in this effort.

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