The USNS Comfort.

The U.S. Naval Ship Comfort, a Mercy-class hospital ship, will be conducting a health mission in the Federation from Oct. 5- 10, under the auspices of The United States Embassy in Barbados, as part of the U.S. Southern Command’s “Enduring Promise Initiative”.

The Comfort, a floating medical treatment facility with crew and medical staff,is expected to dock Oct. 3 and is scheduled to depart Oct. 12. Its humanitarian mission has two components: a land-based medical mission; and a ship -based surgical mission.

The Medical Mission involves the provision of healthcare at two land-based medical sites: Antioch Baptist Church grounds, Lime Kiln (beside the NEMA Headquarters) and St. Paul’s Community Centre.

The public is invited to access care at th0se two medical sites from Oct. 5-10, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.

The Surgical Mission involves surgical interventions and care on board the hospital ship to persons diagnosed with a surgical problem and who have been referred to the ship by his/her attending local physician. It is the responsibility of the surgical patient and his/her attending physician to give serious consideration to the coordination of care of the patient after discharge from the Comfortand after the ship’s departure.

Members of the public who have been diagnosed with a surgical problem and if are in need of surgical care are invited to visit their regular physician or the District Medical Officer (DMO) at the nearest health centre, who will then confirm suitability for referral to the hospital ship.

The regular physician or the DMO will be required to complete the relevant documentation and submit patient names and completed documents to Dr Keisha Liddie, Director of Community Health Services and focal point for the ship hospital in St. Kitts, or Dr Judy Nisbett, Medical Officer of Health and focal point in Nevis.

The Ministry of Health was informed that all surgical candidates will be screened for tuberculosis.

Each surgical candidate, along with an adult next-of kin or patient escort, will be required to attend a pre -surgical screening clinic to determine eligibility. That clinic is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 4, at the Antioch Baptist Church grounds, Lime Kiln from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The USNSComfort and its uniformed naval hospital staff have been deployed to provide humanitarian care to the people of the Federation in October of this year. The ship will make similar stops in ten other Latin American and Caribbean territories.