Sunday 25 August, 2019

Health Ministry to screen surgery candidates for US hospital ship

Photo: The USNS Comfort. Photo courtesy the US Embassy.

Photo: The USNS Comfort. Photo courtesy the US Embassy.

Citizens have expressed interest in the arrival of the US Navy hospital ship, the USNS Comfort (T-AH 20), and the offer of free medical care which will be made available.

According to a release from the US Embassy, the USNS Comfort will be able to perform up to 100 onboard surgeries and will set up two medical sites in Cedros and Point Fortin.

However, the Health Ministry will be screening eligible surgery candidates.

"The Ministry of Health, Trinidad and Tobago will select surgery candidates and conduct pre-screening before making recommendations to the Comfort medical team for surgeries.

"Surgery candidates will be drawn primarily from existing waiting lists within the public health system. Candidates with the optimal clinical background and those who have been on the waiting list for the longest timeframe will be prioritized," the release said. 

The ship will dock at the La Brea port and provide 100 onboard surgeries as well as free medical services. 

There will be two walk-in sites at the Cedros Community Centre and the South West Regional Sports Arena, Point Fortin, as well as host health fairs/community outreach and town halls to address various public health topics.

The categories of services offered at the medical walk-in sites are Adult Medical Services, Pediatric Medical Services, Dental, Optometry, Physical Therapy and Dermatology (only the Point Fortin site).

The US Embassy said the walk-in sites in Cedros and Point Fortin will operate from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm each day on a first-come, first-serve basis.

The statement added that in order to see as many patients as possible, each person will be seen by only one provider, unless that provider deems additional services are needed for the identified condition and are available at the site.

The US Embassy said members of the public should NOT send them any medical records.

The visit of the USNS Comfort is part of the ship’s five-month deployment to Latin America and the Caribbean on a medical assistance mission. The USNS Comfort operation is part of the deepening of U.S. engagement in the region under the health pillar of the U.S.-Caribbean 2020 Strategy.

This marks the seventh hospital ship deployment to the region since 2007 and the second to Trinidad and Tobago.

USNS Comfort medical teams will also provide care in Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Grenada, Haiti, Jamaica, Panama, Saint Lucia and St. Kitts and Nevis during this deployment. 

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