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Comfort Gears up for Ecuador

Navy NewsStand

Story Number: NNS070816-03
Release Date: 8/16/2007 9:04:00 AM

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Steven King, USNS Comfort Public Affairs

MANTA, Ecuador (NNS) -- Crew members from hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20), staged medical equipment and medication in preparation for Comfort’s weeklong humanitarian mission in Manta Aug. 15.

Sailors unloaded pallets from a flat bed trailer truck moments after it made its way up the narrow street in front of the Angelica Flores School medical site.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Claudia Hunter organized the red plastic shipping boxes on the tables that line the walls and run through the center of the small empty classroom. The huge glassless window with wrought iron bars provided enough sunlight to off-set the absence of electric light fixtures.

“We put the most dispensed drugs by the window, usually the pain medication and the vitamins,” said Hunter. “It actually takes more time to unload the truck than it does to set up the pharmacy. We’ve learned a lot since the beginning of this mission, all of the boxes are clearly labeled. It’s just a matter of setting them in the right area of the room.”

The compound style multi-building school, complete with courtyard, lends itself to fluid patient flow.

“It’s all about patient flow, it’s the most important consideration when setting up a medical site,” said Chief Hospital Corpsman Joseph Colon. “You have to be like a chameleon, you have to be able to adapt to your environment, and this site is perfect.”

Comfort is currently on a four-month humanitarian deployment to Latin America and the Caribbean providing medical treatment to a dozen countries.

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