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Captain, Nurse Onboard “Floating Hospital” Share Tales from the Sea on April 22

The captain of the world’s largest civilian hospital ship will pull into port at Lone Star College-Montgomery on Monday, April 22, at 7 p.m., to share tales of more than 11 years aboard in the Mercy Ships fleet.

Africa Mercy’s captain, John McDonnell, will be joined by former onboard nurse, Melissa Clifton to discuss the mission of Mercy Ships and the healthcare services provided by this state-of-the-art floating hospital. Their presentation will take place in LSC-Montgomery’s Performing Arts Center (Building D). A meet-and-greet reception will take place in the same location at 6 p.m.

Based in Texas, Mercy Ships is an international, faith-based organization that provides free eye, dental, and maxillofacial surgery and/or procedures to some of the poorest developing nations in the world. The doctors aboard the largest vessel in the fleet, Africa Mercy, perform approximately 7,000 surgical procedures annually, including cataract removal/lens implants, tumor removal, cleft lip and palate reconstruction, orthopedics, and obstetric fistula repair.

A documentary of the ship, its crew of medical volunteers, and the patients coming from the 1,800 miles of West Africa that the ship’s team serves, was recently featured on “60 Minutes.”

The event is sponsored by LSC-Montgomery’s health occupation programs, which include emergency medical technology, nursing, physical therapist assistant, and radiologic technology. The reception is sponsored by the Student Physical Therapy Assistant Association.

“Our purpose health occupations (at LSC-Montgomery) is to create a professional that has a sense of social, civic, and personal responsibility,” said Renee Pruitt, interim co-dean of the natural and health sciences division and director of the physical therapist assistant program. “We want to create a yearning for social and civic service. This presentation will help our students see what’s out there and provide an understanding of where our country sits in regard to healthcare. Hopefully, this will inspire us all to reach beyond our personal borders and our countries’ borders to share what we’ve learned in the healthcare field.”

The ship Africa Mercy started life as a Danish rail ferry and was subsequently converted into a hospital ship with six operating theatres and 78 patient beds. The 500-foot, 8-deck ship has a crew of more than 450, including 90 nurses, and 15 doctors—all of whom work on a volunteer or sponsored basis.

For more information about the presentation, contact Renee Pruitt, at (936) 273-7470 or Renee.M.Pruitt@lonestar.edu. For more information on Mercy Ships, visit www.MercyShips.org.

LSC-Montgomery is located at 3200 College Park Drive, one-half mile west of Interstate 45, between Conroe and The Woodlands. For more information about the college, call 936.273.7000, or visit www.LoneStar.edu/montgomery.

Lone Star College System has been opening doors to a better community for 40 years. Founded in 1973, LSCS remains steadfast in its commitment to student success and credential completion. Today, with 78,000 students in credit classes, and a total enrollment of more than 90,000, Lone Star College System is the largest institution of higher education in the Houston area and the fastest-growing community college system in the nation. Dr. Richard Carpenter is the chancellor of LSCS, which consists of six colleges including LSC-CyFair, LSC-Kingwood, LSC-Montgomery, LSC-North Harris, LSC-Tomball and LSC-University Park, five centers, LSC-University Center at Montgomery, LSC-University Center at University Park, Lone Star Corporate College, and LSC-Online. To learn more visit LoneStar.edu.