A Decade of Surgery Aboard the U.S. Naval Ship COMFORT (T-AH 20)

Tamara J. Worlton, Rathnayaka MKD Gunasingha, Rex Atwood, Mark Johnson, Ian C. Uber

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: The U.S. Naval Ship COMFORT has performed six humanitarian assistance and disaster relief mission since 2007. This paper describes the surgical volume per surgical specialty for five missions spanning 19 countries. Materials and Methods: Raw surgical case logs were analyzed for total case volume, total operating days, unanticipated return to operating room, and percentage of pediatric cases (<18 years old) for each country visited. Results: Total surgical volume for the five missions was 5,142. The countries most frequently visited were Columbia and Haiti with seven and five visits, respectively. General surgery, ophthalmology, and plastic surgery have had consistent volume over time. Orthopedic surgery volume has steadily decreased with the exception of the 2018 mission. Conclusion: As volume in military treatment facilities declines, alternative sources of surgical volume for military surgeons are being examined. This paper highlights the historical volume which can inform future personnel planning requirements of U.S. Naval Ship COMFORT missions. With the exception of orthopedic surgery, surgical volume has remained consistent over the last decade. For future best practice, historical case data should be used to determine staffing needs on hospital ships and case logs and operating procedures and follow-up protocols should be standardized.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E1802-E1807
JournalMilitary Medicine
Issue number7-8
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2023
Externally publishedYes


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