Today we arrived in Colon Panama. This is the first time on this deployment that we have been able to be pierside! I'm sure that will help to manage many of our logistical issues. We will get ashore faster, be ashore longer, and hopefully, see more patients.
But, more importantly, this is the half-way point for my deployment!! It's all down-hill from here! Debbie, I'm on my way home!
The only problem is: H1N1, commonly known as the Swine Flu.
Today, we have no incidence of H1N1 onboard COMFORT, and we have instituted a number of steps to protect ourselves from infection. As of Cartagena, we started screening everyone who is coming aboard COMFORT for signs of the H1N1 virus.
It's not that we are afraid of getting the virus onboard, it's that we're afraid of what getting the virus onboard will mean to our ability to complete our mission.
We certainly have the capability to take care of anyone who should get sick onboard COMFORT, but there is so much hysteria about this virus, that it could impact our ability to continue to provide medical care to the people of Central and South America. That would be a shame.
So, tomorrow, we start screening surgical patients from Panama, we start treating patients at our outpatient facilities, our Engineers start building things, our Vets start veting things, and our Trainers start training people.
Hopefully in the next couple of days I'll get a chance to get ashore and see what's happening at our sites, but I'm confident that we are doing great things for the people of Panama!
So, would you like to see the USNS COMFORT live! Heading through the Panama canal? Well, this is your chance! On Wednesday, June 3, 2009, log onto
to watch as COMFORT moves through the locks of the Panama Canal. Unfortunately, I don't know when to tell you to watch those sites, but they are live web cams of ships moving through the canal. We will be going through the Gatun locks first, followed a number of hours later by our transit through the Mira Flores locks.
I'll try to send a post on this site to let people know when we're entering the locks, however, only people who follow this blog will get the word! So, if you're not signed up to follow this blog, now is the time to do it!!
I don't have a lot of pictures of Panama yet, but here's what I have! We're parked on a pier with a lot of containers all around us!