Photos: About the USNS Mercy, the Navy’s Floating Hospital Deploying to the Port of LA
By Jonathan Lloyd ••
The Navy hospital ship USNS Mercy will arrive in the Port of Los Angeles to provide relief as the region’s hospitals grapple with the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Mercy, which set sail from San Diego, will serve as a referral hospital for non-COVID-19 patients. Treating those patients aboard the giant ship will allow shore-based hospitals to use their Intensive Care Units and ventilators for COVID-19 patients.
At full capacity, the behemoth ship will be the largest hospital in Los Angeles.
USNS Mercy, which usually handles combat casualty care, is one of the Navy's two 1,000-bed floating hospitals that will deploy to provide medical relief. More than 800 medical professionals will be on board when it docks at the Port of LA.
The current USNS Mercy is the third Navy ship to carry the name, signifying compassion. The first was built as Saratoga in 1907 and served as a Army troop transport during World War I. It was renamed Mercy and converted to a hospital ship. Commissioned in January 1918, the first Mercy completed four round trips to France and carried nearly 2,000 casualties. The second Mercy was commissioned in August 1944.
The current nearly 900-foot long ship was delivered to the US Navy in November 1986. It was deployed for service in Operation Desert Shield in August 1990.
Originally built as the oil tanker USS Worth, the converted hospital ship has 11 general purpose operating suites, blood bank capacity of 5,000 units, 15 patients wards and 80 intensive care beds. The hospital ships also have a CT scanner and radiology suites.