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HISTORY OF MILITARY MEDICINE
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 19  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 63-65

Navy Hospital ships in history


1 SSO (Health), India
2 ACMO, HQWNC, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Surg Capt Sougat Ray
HQWNC, Mumbai, Maharashtra
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jmms.jmms_43_17

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Hospital ships are operated by the Naval forces in or near war zones to provide medical assistance to the wounded personnel of all nationalities and not be used for any military purpose. Hospital ships possibly existed in ancient times and the Athenian Navy had a ship named Therapia. However, it was only during the 17th century that it became a common practice for the naval squadrons to be accompanied by large ships with the facilities of carrying the wounded after each engagement. In 1860, the steamships HMS Melbourne and HMS Mauritius were equipped with genuine medical facilities. They were manned by the Medical Staff Corps and provided services to the British expedition to China. During the World War I and World War II, passenger ships were converted for use as hospital ships and were started to be used on a massive scale. RMS Aquitania and HMHS Britannic were two famous examples of hospital ships used extensively. Modern US hospital ships USNS Mercy and USNS Comfort are operated by Military Sealift Command of the US Navy. Their primary mission is to provide emergency on-site care for US combatant forces deployed in war or other operations.


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