U.S. Navy Hospital Ship in Puerto Rico Remains Nearly Empty

After former United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton suggested that a Naval Hospital Vessel be sent to Puerto Rico to provide medical assistance to hurricane survivors, United States President Donald Trump ordered the deployment of the USS Comfort to Puerto Rico. The ship arrived two weeks ago, but only 33 patients are on board, barely 10% of the ship’s total capacity. The government in Puerto Rico is being blamed for their lack of assistance to the thousands of people in need of medical care. Puerto Rico’s Department of Health decides who gets medical care on the naval hospital ship, and the lack of urgency and slow government operations in the department have made getting urgent medical care to Puerto Rico’s citizens extremely difficult.

Child in a Puerto Rico hospital receives oxygen as medical supplies drop to a critical level. Image Courtesy of PBS.

Leyla Santiago from CNN spoke to the governor of Puerto Rico about the problem. Governor Ricardo Rosselló said “The disconnect or the apparent disconnect was in the communications flow,” and added “I asked for a complete revision of that so that we can now start sending more patients” and acknowledged that the patient referral system is deeply flawed and needs improvement. Millions of people in Puerto Rico remain without power and access to safe drinking water. Supplies are on the island, but government bureaucracy is preventing much-needed supplies from being delivered to the people of Puerto Rico.


Cover Photo Courtesy of United States Military Sealift Command


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