Ship Khanh Hoa-01, a mobile hospital at sea

(VOVWORLD) - The ship Khanh Hoa 01, also called HQ-561, is manned by doctors and health workers. Like hospitals on the mainland, the mobile hospital ship managed by Navy Zone 4 provides medical services to military personnel, residents, and fishermen in the Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelago.  
Ship Khanh Hoa-01, a mobile hospital at sea - ảnh 1The ship Khanh Hoa 01, also called HQ-561, has a capacity of 2,070 tons and is able to carry 200 people. It can operate 45 consecutive days at sea and deal with level-10 waves.

Captain Pham Van An, head of HQ-561, told VOV the hospital ship has an operating room as modern as any on the mainland and can link to mainland hospitals like Military Hospital 108, adding it also has X-ray, ultrasound, CT scan, and pressure relief booth technology.

“The ship often operates in rough weather – big waves and strong winds – but each crew member is determined to do their duty. It’s not simply a matter of obeying orders. It’s a responsibility felt in one’s hearts, to rescue and treat fishermen in distress,” said An.

HQ- 561 is rated one of the most advanced medical ships in Southeast Asia. Senior Lieutenant Ta Trung Thanh, the ship’s political commissar, said each crew member is trained to perform basic first aid. Saving a patient's life is their greatest happiness, said Thanh.

“It’s very difficult for us to do our work when there are winds and waves. Many of our comrades can’t eat because of seasickness, but they never shrink their assignments. Everyone does their best for the health of the soldiers and other people on the islands.”

Thanh recalled one time “when they encountered a fishing boat from Quang Ngai in distress. We towed the boat and moved the fishermen to our ship for medical treatment until they were recovered enough to continue their fishing.”

Ship Khanh Hoa-01, a mobile hospital at sea - ảnh 2HQ-561 doctors and health workers perform a surgery.  

Major Tran Van Ngoc, who is in charge of the ship's medical affairs, said he has worked on HQ-561 since it became part of the Vietnam People’s Navy.

Ngoc has many unforgettable memories but the case of a fisherman who was fishing near Nui Le island and got acute appendicitis left the deepest impression. His condition worsened so quickly that the ship’s doctors had to perform surgery immediately. The surgery took almost 2 hours. They then had to stay awake all night long to care for the patient, Major Ngoc recalled.

“Most of the cases involve injuries at sea. We often have to fight big waves and strong winds to rescue wounded fishermen, and bring them on board for emergency treatment.”

Since April 2012, the ship has delivered medicine and emergency treatment to thousands of military personnel and fishermen in the Truong Sa island district.

It also spends two months every 2 years serving the Spratly Archipelago and DK1 platforms. The ship also takes military personnel and others to visit or work on the archipelago and delivers food and fresh water to the people living there.

HQ-561 represented the Vietnamese Navy at the 2014 Komodo naval humanitarian aid and disaster relief exercise involving 18 countries, including the 10 ASEAN members, Russia, the US, Japan, China, India, and Australia.

During the Komodo exercise, 3 minor surgeries were performed in addition to examining and prescribing medicine to thousands of Indonesian people.