I haven't heard how big is was, but at about 7:45am this morning, the ship was shook by the strongest aftershock we've felt so far. Thirty minutes later, another aftershock hit. Not as strong as the first, but certainly able to be felt throughout the ship. We're not in any danger on the ship from these aftershocks, but they certainly present a danger to those who are ashore. The good news for those of you who would worry about a loved one here on the ship is that even when ashore, we are using tents for shelter, we're not inside any buildings, so I'm comfortable that all of our people are safe.
Geraldo Rivera was onboard COMFORT this morning. I know that he was impressed with the work our people are doing here. He is a bit of a celebrity and lots of people wanted to get their picture taken with him!
We were up on the bridge wing for awhile as his crew was getting set up and while we were there it was one helicopter after another bringing in more patients. One helicopter would barely be off the deck before the next helicopter was approaching to land. We are the busiest trauma hospital in the world today. Our surgeons and CASREC staff are working 19 hours a day and they are truly saving hundreds of lives. But now we're starting to see people who are coming aboard with massive infections that are too far advanced for us to do anything but make them comfortable until their inevitable passing. That takes a tremendous emotional toll on our people. Especially when some of these people look healthy and vigorous, but in a matter of hours become overwhelmed by the infection.
We have three Chaplains onboard who pray with the dying, and pray for and councel the living. Our lead Chaplain is Chaplain Oravec. He has been in the Reserves for years, but just before our CONTINUING PROMISE deployment, he came on active duty and sailed with us for nearly five months back in early 2009. He was a blessing to the crew then and to the people of Latin America. He's a blessing to the people of Haiti and to our crew now. It has been so good to have so many of the people we sailed with in 2009 back with us now when the stresses of this mission are so much larger.
Well, I have to run. Remember us and the people of Haiti in your prayers.
P.S. We got the A/C back on the ICUs! It's actually comfortable in there today. Today we started putting patients in our third ICU.