The hospital ship USNS Mercy (T-AH 19) departed Los Angeles Friday after supporting local COVID-19 response efforts during the coronavirus pandemic.
Mercy has been at the World Cruise Center Terminal in the Port of Los Angeles since March 27, serving state and local healthcare providers by treating non-COVID-19 patients in support of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Medical professionals aboard the ship treated a variety of patients and performed medical procedures including general, orthopedic and plastic surgeries; interventional radiology; exploratory laparotomy; and skin grafting.
“We came to Los Angeles to be the relief valve for local hospitals in the fight against COVID-19,” said Capt. John Rotruck, commanding officer of Medical Treatment Facility (MTF) on board. “Sailors from across the country answered the call, forming a unified team focused on our mission to treat patients from Los Angeles. I couldn’t be more proud.”
Mission Commander, Capt. Dan Cobian, commodore, Destroyer Squadron 21, said, “In addition to supporting Los Angeles-area hospitals, we were able to expand our mission by providing support to a local skilled nursing facility and we also sent personnel to aid USNS Comfort for their effort in New York. Our Sailors answered the call and showed our country and the world the capability of our combined Navy Medicine and Military Sea Lift Command team in providing aid during this pandemic.”
Mercy is scheduled to return to Naval Station San Diego, where the ship and members of its embarked MTF will remain ready for future tasking.
At the direction of FEMA and U.S. Northern Command (USNORTHCOM), approximately 60 personnel assigned to Mercy’s medical treatment facility will continue supporting state and local healthcare providers at skilled nursing facilities. The Navy, along with USNORTHCOM-directed forces, remains engaged throughout the nation in support of the broader COVID-19 response.
“We owe a debt of gratitude to the sailors and medical staff of the USNS Mercy for their selfless service,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. “This crisis is far from over — and we will continue to work with our local, state, and federal partners to deliver resources that will save lives.”
Sister ship USNS Comfort had been supporting coronavirus relief work in New York, but departed in April to return to its homeport in Norfolk, Va.