News / Americas

US Navy Hospital Ship in Haiti, Treating Patients

Multimedia

Audio
TEXT SIZE - +
David Dyar

The U.S. Navy Hospital ship Comfort reached Haiti before dawn Wednesday morning.  Around that time, an aftershock that could even be felt on the Comfort, jolted the island, wrecking the pier that was going to be used as a staging area for patients. The ship's medical teams continue to receive patients by air.

At first light Wednesday morning, a smokey haze hung over Port-au-Prince, burning off as the day progressed.  It is the view from the deck of the hospital ship Comfort, roughly two kilometers off shore.

The Comfort's two helicopters have been coming and going at a rapid pace, with the ability to ferry up to 11 patients at a time to the hospital ship. 

Among them is a man who appears to be in his early twenties.  One-third of his body is badly burned, and his head and face are charred and raw in places.  Director of Surgery Commander Tim Donahue says the young man was brought in from a triage facility on the island.   "He was the victim sort of an explosion when the gas station went off.  This burn is, I'm shocked that he's doing this well, this many days out," he said.

Elsewhere, the pediatric ward is ready for the smallest patients. Each bed has a stuffed animal sitting on a pillow - teddy bears, dinosaurs, dogs, monkeys and even unicorns.  The school-age child of one of the doctors on the Comfort organized a toy-collection drive right after the earthquake, and in a matter of 24 hours collected boxes of stuffed toys. 

Doctors say children tend to make up about one-third of patients after disasters.  Pediatric orthopedic surgeon Commander William Todd anticipates that many of the patients will be orphans or have been separated from their parents. "I think we're going to see a lot of those issues right now.  We're going to see parents not knowing where their kids are and kids not knowing where their parents are," he said.

There is a very hopeful story aboard the Comfort - one of a mother made, not lost.

Twenty-one-year-old Gean Beline sits on the side of a bed in pediatrics, her head cocked sideways, smiling as she looks at her tiny baby, asleep in a playpen alongside stuffed toys.  She named him Vinson, after the U.S. Aircraft Carrier Carl Vinson, where he was born only days ago.  She said it felt right, and that she liked the name.

But there are also the people who are trying desperately to reach this ship by any means possible.  As of Wednesday afternoon, a ferry boat packed with Haitians fleeing the island was about 1,000 meter from the Comfort.  And a person in a kayak has paddled toward and around the hospital ship for hours, the kayak cutting a slip of bright orange in the blue sea.  A number of guard boats are keeping the various crafts at bay.

You May Like

Multimedia Relatives of South Korean Ferry Victims Fire at Authorities

36 people are confirmed dead, but some 270 remain trapped on board More

War Legacy Haunts Vietnam, US Relations

$84 million project aims to clean up soil contaminated by Agent Orange More

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politicsi
X
Michael Eckels
April 19, 2014
There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Ukraine, Russia, United in Faith, Divided in Politics

There is a strong historical religious connection between Russia and Ukraine. But what role is religion playing in the current conflict? In the run-up to Easter, Michael Eckels in Moscow reports for VOA.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid

More Americas News

Audit Finds US Housing Aid Program in Haiti Falls Short

Results show post-earthquake USAID program has delivered only a quarter of planned number of homes at nearly twice the budgeted cost
More

Mourning, Memories in Garcia Marquez's Languid Hometown

Nobel Prize-winning author's early years in Aracataca inspired characters, tales for major novel
More

Powerful Earthquake Rattles Mexico

US Geological Survey says quake measuring 7.5 on Richter scale, was centered in the western state of Guerrero, north of Acapulco beach resort
More

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support
More

Colombian Novelist Garcia Marquez Dies at 87

Author of 'One Hundred Years of Solitude' won Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982
More

Salsa Legend Cheo Feliciano Dies in Car Crash

Police say singer was alone in his jaguar when he hit a post before sunrise Thursday
More