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Everything you need to know about the USNS Comfort, the giant hospital ship in NYC

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At 10AM ET on March 30th, the US Navy’s gigantic floating hospital ship, the USNS Consolation, arrived in New York Metropolis the place it has been despatched to assist relieve the strain on town’s hospitals which can be overwhelmed with coronavirus sufferers.

The Consolation’s 1,000 beds and 12 working rooms will largely be used for non-coronavirus sufferers, liberating up much-needed house on the metropolis’s overtaxed hospitals. The ship is often used to help army campaigns and humanitarian crises overseas, together with earthquake and hurricane reduction. Most just lately, it was deployed to Latin America, serving to international locations with insufficient well being care programs. It was last stationed in New York City after the 9/11 terrorist assaults the place it helped deal with a whole bunch of first responders.

The ship has been round for over 4 a long time and been deployed all all over the world. Right here is every part else it’s worthwhile to know concerning the USNS Consolation.

It’s a transformed oil tanker. The ship didn’t begin out as a hospital ship, however as a San Clemente-class oil supertanker referred to as the SS Rose Metropolis. It was constructed by the Nationwide Metal and Shipbuilding Firm in San Diego in 1976. The US Navy bought it in 1987, together with one other supertanker, with the objective of changing each into Mercy-class hospital ships. The Consolation’s sister ship, the USNS Mercy, is at present being deployed to the West Coast.

However as a transformed oil tanker, transferring sufferers round can show troublesome. The bulkheads used to separate the oil weren’t eliminated through the retrofitting, nor have been hatches added to enhance horizontal motion by means of the ship. Many of the motion of sufferers from one space to a different should be made by going as much as the deck first after which again down.

Painted white with a number of outstanding purple crosses, the ship’s look is designed as an instance its function and shield its crew and cargo in opposition to hostile assaults. The Geneva Conference protects hospital ships in the event that they carry no munitions or weapons; any nation that fires on one is charged with a global battle crime.

Consolation is an enormous ship — like, actually massive. The ship is round 100 toes tall, which is the dimensions of a 10-story constructing. It has a deep draft — it displaces 70,473 tons of water — and, in lots of ports, it has to face no less than a mile offshore. Over 894 toes lengthy (272 meters), the Consolation is concerning the size of three soccer fields and may journey at a velocity of 17.5 knots (20.1 mph).

To obtain sufferers, the Consolation has a big helipad, with the capability to land massive, military-grade helicopters. The ship additionally has the flexibility to simply accept sufferers from different ships docked alongside. Consolation could be totally activated and crewed inside 5 days.

It might take numerous sufferers. The Consolation has 1,000 beds, 500 of that are designated for minimal case wants, one other 400 for intermediate instances, 20 for surgical restoration, and 80 for intensive care sufferers. Although the Consolation will probably be docked whereas in New York Metropolis, it was designed with a big rounded hull for improved stability for surgical procedures and different intensive procedures that wanted to be carried out at sea.

However there’s much more to the Consolation than simply beds. According to MilitaryFactory.com (which makes use of feminine pronouns to explain the ship):

She is an entire medical facility that even features a dental clinic, 4 x-ray machines and a CT scanner. A pair of oxygen-producing vegetation, an optometry lab and coolers to carry 5,000 models of blood are all a part of her device field. Consolation is a hospital that may maintain as much as 2,000 folks onboard, crew mixed with sufferers, and provide much-needed water to each as she maintained a contemporary water plant making as much as 300,000 gallons of water a day. Different onboard providers embrace a satellite tv for pc lab and a central space for sterile causality receiving. A medical provide depot, together with a well-stocked pharmacy, are all included. Because of the nature of her work she has a big laundry operations and her personal morgue.

The Consolation has been to battle zones and disasters alike. The ship has been to Haiti no less than twice lately: as soon as in 1994 to assist course of migrants who wished to flee the unrest and again in 2010 after a magnitude 7 earthquake laid waste to the nation’s capital of Port-au-Prince.

It has additionally been deployed to the Persian Gulf a number of occasions over time. Stationed close to Kuwait and Saudi Arabia in 1990, Consolation noticed 8,700 sufferers, 2,100 helicopter landings, and 337 surgical procedures in its 12 working rooms. It was additionally stationed there in 2002 through the US invasion of Iraq.

Along with 9/11, the Consolation has been deployed in US waters to assist reply to varied disasters. In 2005, the ship was despatched to New Orleans and Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina devastated the area. The ship helped deal with 2,000 sufferers through the seven weeks it was stationed within the Gulf of Mexico.

Earlier than arriving immediately in New York Metropolis, the ship was present process upkeep in Norfolk, Virginia, which the Pentagon initially estimated would take weeks to finish. However the Navy, working with the Military Corps of Engineers and the State Division, acquired the job finished in eight days, according to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

The necessity for added hospital capability in New York Metropolis is gigantic. Along with the Consolation, town can be constructing area hospitals on the Javits Middle and in Central Park.

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