PEARL HARBOR (KHNL) - A floating hospital stretching the length of three football fields is in Hawaii to kick-off a historic humanitarian mission.
The USNS Mercy arrived in Pearl Harbor Tuesday morning, to pick up supplies, and a team of military and civilian doctors. It's the first partnership of this kind.
"This exemplifies our commitment for southeast Asia and south Asia and I could not be prouder of the opportunity to do this," said Capt. Brad Martin of the U.S. Navy, and the overall mission commander.
Eighteen doctors from the Hawaii-based Aloha Medical Mission will team up with military doctors to provide healthcare to people and animals in several countries including Indonesia, Bangladesh and the Philippines.
"That's our lifework, to go on missions to help the poor people wherever they are," said Dr. Carl Lum, a retired general surgeon, and AMM mission director.
The Mercy's equipment is state of the art including a casualty center, cat scan machine, diagnostic station and an operating room. The ship is capable of treated up to a thousand patients at once.
"It's good for us to use such fine facilities," said Lum. "We're not used to it, but we'll manage."
Lum said in previous missions, doctors would be treating patients in tents with mud up to their knees.
"It's really a great feeling to help the people in need," said Lum. "Most of the time we go to these areas, if we're not providing the care for them, they just don't get any care at all."
The doctors from AMM are all volunteers. The USNS Mercy is scheduled to leave Pearl Harbor on Thursday.