The hospital ship USNS Comfort (T-AH 20), from the United States government, will arrive next Sunday in Puntarenas to offer medical attention in the area on July 23rd to 27th.

The arrival of this vessel is part of the “Promesa Duradera” (Lasting Promise) Mission, which consists of a program where they will visit 11 countries, between Latin America and the Caribbean.

The medical personnel aboard the hospital ship will work, hand in hand, with their counterparts from the Costa Rican Social Security Fund (CCSS), by offering medical care at the facilities of the Association of Pensioners of Puntarenas (Apenpun), in Chacarita, and at the “El Coloso” gym, in Barranca.

According to the CCSS, among the services they will offer there are: medical evaluation and treatment, preventive medicine, dental examinations and treatment, optometry exams and glasses delivery, pediatrics, dermatology, women’s health, public health, physical therapy services, laboratory studies, medication delivery, as well as outpatient general surgery for hernia and gallstones, and ophthalmologic surgery for cataracts and ocular pterygium (in the latter 2 cases, patients previously selected by the CCSS will be carried out aboard the ship).

Some of the surgeons aboard the ship

“What is sought is to improve the living conditions of the entire Latin American people in terms of health, human resources, food, and nutrition and create bonds of friendship with these countries”, said Dr. Albert Brown, in charge of the CCSS-Comfort link.

For general attention, people should only approach the Apenpun or the “El Coloso” gym on the dates indicated, between 8 am and 4 pm, regardless of their condition of insurance before the CCSS. In 2018, this ship visited Latin America, although in Central America it only visited Honduras.

The hospital ship

The USNS Comfort is one of the 2 Mercy-class hospital ships of the United States of America and has, among other facilities, 12 operating theaters and 1,000 beds for patients: 80 intensive care beds, 20 recovery beds, 280 intermediate care beds, 120 light care beds, and 500 limited care beds.

USNS Comfort

In addition, it has radiology service, clinical laboratory, pharmacy, physical therapy service, burns unit, sterilization center, medical images, dental services, 2 oxygen production plants, laundry, and 4 distillation plants to make drinkable water a from seawater.

Costa Ricans participating in the Mission

The CCSS reported that, currently, 3 professionals of them participate in the humanitarian mission: Dr. Gina Víquez Rojas, medical specialist in emergency medicine at the San Francisco de Asís hospital in Greece; Dr. Pablo Rodríguez Chaves, doctor of the Cariari health area and part of the Emergency Medical Team (EMT) of the institution; and Dr. Carolina Leal Zúñiga, a pharmacy professional who works for the health area of Barranca, and who has also received training as a brigade and in tactical medicine.

After the ship arrives in Costa Rican waters, more professionals representing the CCSS will join the Comfort 2 crew, who will participate in the humanitarian mission until it is completed. In this case, it will be Dr. Vladimir Briceño Elizondo, a doctor at the La Anexión hospital in Nicoya, and Dr. Hubert Zamora Mena, a nursery professional at the Rafael Ángel Calderón Guardia hospital.

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