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Rebuttal Fridays, The USNS Comfort, and critical thinking for Health Care

The common good, or the general welfare, requires a willingness to dig beneath the surface for the full facts, in order to form a more perfect and inclusive union for all of us.

Someone who told me just this morning that NY City did not, in fact, have it’s hospital system overrun by Covid in the spring, missed a crucial fact.  When she asserted that the Mercy had 1100 beds, which went unused, and thus NY city’s hospital system did not collapse in March or April of this year, I replied that there must be more to the story than meets the eye.  She continued to insist that non-Covid deaths are being labeled as Covid for some nefarious reason, and that the hospital systems there and in LA are just fine, since someone she knew went to the hospital (in San Diego) two weeks ago, and reported seeing only three people waiting in the ER. 

So, I went looking into the news about the Mercy from this spring, and turned up reports from the NY Times about her sister ship, Mercy class USNS Comfort, stationed on the east coast, which was actually the ship, with 1000 beds, dispatched to NYC to help.  And it is true, very very few patients from NYC were treated aboard, but the reason was not lack of patients in NYC.  Turns out, the ship is not currently set up for infectious disease treatment, and her orders were to treat non-infected patients, of which there were very few in the city at the time.  The Comfort’s orders not to take Covid patients aboard meant that NY city’s hospitals were not able to put her beds to much use, since the vast majority of cases were Covid.


“Capt. Patrick Amersbach, the commanding officer of the medical personnel aboard the Comfort, said at a news conference that, for now, his orders were to accept only patients who had tested negative for the virus.”

That was not what NY city needed at the time, but it was all the Comfort was allowed to do.  Thus, as G’kar of Babylon 5 would say, the mystery is resolved, and my head no longer hurts.

  Only my heart.

Action Items:

1.) Search for two different sources related to the Mercy class ships Comfort and Mercy,

2.) Share them with us in the comments, here, please.

3.) Share your thoughts on how you might have responded to the statement this morning, that hospitals were not overburdened, since the ship’s beds went unused,

4.) Write a book, blog post or tweet that uses this argument, tells a good story, and makes a difference. I’m working on that through my historical fantasy #WiP, #WhoByFireIWill. If you write a book, once published, please consider donating to your local public library.

Dear Readers, ideas on learning, especially multiple #LanguageLearning, on-going education and empathy-building, to #EndPoverty, #EndHomelessness,  #EndMoneyBail & achieve freedom for All HumanKind

Support our key #PublicDomainInfrastructure  & #StopSmoking for CCOVID-19:
1. #PublicLibraries,
2. #ProBono legal aid and Education,
3. #UniversalHealthCare, and
4. good #publictransport
Read, Write -one can add Stayed on Freedom’s Call via this GR button:

    Salût !    


December, 2020 CE = December 12020 HE

(The previous lesson 20/67 published since this post, and the most recent lesson 21/67…)

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Shira Destinie Jones by ShiraDest is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Published by EmpathyCriticalThinking

A fictional ranger reporting on Babylon 5 history during the human Holocene Era... (for further information, please see )

0 thoughts on “Rebuttal Fridays, The USNS Comfort, and critical thinking for Health Care

  1. “since someone she knew went to the hospital (in San Diego) two weeks ago, and reported seeing only three people waiting in the ER. ”
    My attempt to point out that her friend represented only one individual case, and that neither of us had the full context, went entirely unheeded.


    Liked by 3 people

  2. Relying on anecdotal evidence is a dangerous pitfall, one I myself have fallen into from time to time. Sadly it feels like too many people are relying on anecdotal evidence in viewing this pandemic. It’s definitely crucial to look outside your own personal experience and work to see a larger, and hopefully more accurate, picture.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Ben: it is, absolutely.
      This same person has told me more than once that I should stop worrying about the larger community (when I said that giving back to the community was a crucial value, she practically shouted “No!”), and focus on myself and my closest personal people, as I had neither connections, nor influence, nor power, and thus could not change anything beyond my very small circle.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Exactly.
      Thank you for saying it, Ashley.

      It was clear that by sending a hospital ship and hamstringing it, since
      (like in My Cousin Vinny!)
      most people will only read the headlines, and not the whole article, political points could be scored while punishing the City at the same time.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Of course, I should point out that the headline itself did not help the situation, although I’ll admit that a more descriptive headline (or a more inclusive/explicatory headline) would have been difficult to fit into the limited headline space. The NY Times did not do the City any favors with a headline screaming something like ‘hospital ship only has 22 patients’ when most folks outside of the City will read no further than that, and thus draw incorrect conclusions.
      (As in My Cousin Vinny!)

      Liked by 2 people

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