unique-largest-floating-hospital-world is One of the best unique hospitals in the world is a trauma facility staffed by over 700 medical personnel, has 12 operating rooms, and holds over 5,000 pints of blood. That may not sound that unusual, but the thing that separates this hospital from the rest is that it also floats. It is the US Navy’s largest hospital ship called the USNS Comfort.

The concept of a hospital ship is as it sounds like and traces its origins back to ancient civilizations but became customary in the 17th century when the British Royal Navy launched the HMS Goodwill to care for wounded soldiers off the coast of foreign lands. Today unique largest floating hospital worldhospital ships are still an important part of helping those in need around the world and close to a dozen nations operate them.

Even though the US Navy operates the USNS Comfort, it’s not considered a military ship and does not carry offensive weapons. National Steel and Shipbuilding originally constructed the ship as a San Clemente-class oil tanker in 1976. A decade later it was renamed USNS Mercy and converted into a hospital ship that would go on to treating soldiers in conflict zones like the Persian Gulf, civilians during Hurricane Katrina, and serve others on humanitarian missions around the globe.

According to the US Navy, since 1990 the ship has treated over 250,000 patients and traveled over 30,000 nautical miles. In one of its most recent missions, Operation Continuing Promise, the USNS Mercy moved to the Caribbean over the summer is currently set to visit South and Central America to treat over 100,000 patients and provide training to NGO’s and other civil organizations as part of a broad humanitarian mission. While in the waters of Central America, the ship will be host to over 400 free cleft surgeries to patients in need. As the nature of war and conflict has evolved over the past 20 years, humanitarian missions like this one are perhaps a sign of what the future will hold for the ship.

The USNS Comfort can bring treatment to others in undeveloped locations hard to reach instead of relying on ill people being drawn to them, which can be a fatal process. As globalization continues to make the world a smaller place where the actions of one nation affect various others, hospital ships like the USNS Comfort are a critical piece of global healthcare.

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