The first of the Comfort’s 350 additional crew members began arriving onboard Thursday morning, on helicopters from the airport in Port-au-Prince. The ones I spoke to had left Portsmouth, Va., two days earlier, spent a night in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, then spent last night in Haiti. To meet one of the needs identified in drills and in yesterday’s first full-day receiving patients, most of them were nurses.
Cmdr. Mark Marino, the head of nursing, introduced himself to each one, asked them what their specialty was and sent them off to Intensive Care, the pediatric ward, the emergency/receiving bay, whatever. There’s was no time for orientation. “No amount of staff I get for Haiti is ever going to be enough, but we’re glad to have them,” he said.
Also onboard are several additional surgeons, including five orthopedic surgeons, bringing the total number of cutters to 24.