‘Tremendous enthusiasm’: Capt. says San Diego-based hospital ship is happy to serve

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LOS ANGELES — Capt. John Rotruck says there is “tremendous enthusiasm” aboard the USNS Mercy, the San Diego-based Navy ship serving as a “floating hospital” in Los Angeles during the coronavirus pandemic.

Rotruck, the Mercy’s commanding officer, told FOX 5 that for many of ship’s crew, the deployment is like “helping our next-door neighbors.”

“From the second we got on the ship, I saw tremendous enthusiasm from the crew,” Rotruck said. “I didn’t have to hype anyone up for this mission.”

The ship is not taking on confirmed COVID-19 patients for treatment, instead focusing on other people in need of medical care to help keep the land-based hospitals from overcrowding. The captain said people are often surprised at how “normal” getting treatment on the vessel can be.

“It looks just like a regular hospital,” he told FOX 5. “We’ve taken an entire hospital and dropped it inside a steel ship instead of setting it on a concrete foundation on land.”

Watch Rotruck’s full interview with Heather Lake above.

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