US Navy creates hospital ships from Covid-19
The US Navy has unveiled the concept of the new Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) hospital ships, which are planned to be used during the pandemic. The new ships will replace obsolete ships - converted tankers over 35 years old. The new vessels will be faster and equipped with the most modern medical technology, including those suitable for treating covid patients.
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, stories circulated on the Web about how foci of infection flared up on ships, and therefore all personnel and passengers were isolated at sea and could not go ashore. Moreover, such stories happened to both civilian ships and the military. However, now the covid has become a common thing. Therefore, it is more important not to isolate the sick, but to cure them.
Therefore, the US recently unveiled a new concept for the Expeditionary Fast Transport (EPF) medical ship, designed to replace the current and aging hospital ships currently in service with the Navy.
The EMS concept envisions that they will be less spacious but more mobile than their predecessors. They will receive a site for placing helicopters or convertiplanes. The floating hospital will have 124 beds, 4 operating theaters, 8 isolation rooms 32 for light patients and 80 equipped beds for ambulance and postoperative rehabilitation. Such a ship will be able to quickly arrive where there is a need for medical assistance at the moment.
As part of the new concept, it was decided that hospital ships should receive more options for treating covid patients. An intensive care unit with 18 beds will be created, additional premises for medical personnel of about 100 people will appear, a system of canteens isolated from each other so that the infected do not spread the infection. Helicopters and V-22 tiltrotors will be able to land on the deck of the vessel.
Probably, the ships will “pick up” people from active or performing combat missions ships, and then head to the port, providing care and treatment along the way.
The capabilities of intensive care and surgical departments will also be expanded. Such ships will provide a short-term, but full course of treatment: surgery, intensive care, postoperative care.
There are currently two hospital ships operating in the US Navy: USNS Mercy and USNS Comfort. The first is based in San Diego and is responsible for the Pacific and Indian Oceans. The second is serving in Norfolk, on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean. There, the courts collect the covid sick.
These vessels were previously tankers and later converted into hospital ships. The former USNS Mercy tanker has a length of 272.6 meters, a width of 32 meters, a displacement of 69,360 tons, a speed of 20.13 miles per hour, and is equipped with a helicopter platform. The number of the ship's crew is 71 sailors and up to 1200 medical personnel.
The ship has an 80-bed intensive care ward, 20-bed recovery wards, 280-bed interim care wards, 120-bed light-care wards, and 500-bed limited care wards. Thus, the vessel can accommodate up to 1000 patients at a time. Also on the ship there are 12 operating rooms, laboratories, a pharmacy, a station for sterile processing of instruments, a dental office, a laboratory for making lenses, a burn center, a morgue, and a laundry.
In recent years, the equipment of the USNS Mercy and USNS Comfort has come under criticism. These floating hospitals are outdated (over 35 years old) and have low technical characteristics. Some of the onboard equipment is outdated, and there are a number of other problems of various kinds. This means that they already need to be replaced with more modern ships.