After treating hundreds of COVID-19 patients in New York and Italy, Samaritan’s Purse is now building an emergency field hospital in Nassau in the Bahamas at the request of the Bahamian prime minister and has deployed a disaster assistance response team there, the evangelical ministry has announced.
The group’s DC-8 cargo jet transported the 28-bed COVID care center, more than 14 tons of supplies and a team of doctors, nurses, and other relief specialists last week to build the facility, which will be part of Nassau’s Princess Margaret Hospital, according to a statement by Samaritan’s Purse.
“The care center will help expand the hospital’s capacity for patient treatment, which has been strained as the number of coronavirus cases on the islands has risen,” the evangelical charity said.
The hospital had to shut down medical transfers from other islands as it was unable to take in any more patients. Many health professionals in the country have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, exacerbating an already difficult situation.
“Hospital staff are overwhelmed and exhausted as the number of coronavirus patients in the Bahamas reaches an all-time high,” said Samaritan’s Purse President Franklin Graham. “Our teams respond to the hard places in Jesus’ Name; this is the right place to go to make a difference in the lives of hurting families.”
With a population of over 385,000, the Bahamas began seeing a surge in cases in July after it had reopened its borders to travelers. There are currently over 5,600 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 116 deaths as of Sunday morning, according to Johns Hopkins University.
The Samaritan’s Purse team will provide infection prevention and control training for the country’s healthcare workers as well as support the establishment of IPC programming in associated medical facilities.
The Christian humanitarian organization’s medical staff recently cared for more than 600 patients at its two 68-bed respiratory care units in Cremona, Italy, and in New York City, “reminding these men and women that they were not alone or forgotten.”
Samaritan’s Purse ran a field hospital in Cremona Hospital in Italy’s Lombardy region from March 20 to May 14, treating more than 280 patients.
Over the course of a month in April, its 68-bed field hospital in New York City treated 315 patients adjacent to Mount Sinai Hospital in Central Park’s East Meadow to help meet the needs of local hospitals that were facing a wave of sick patients.
After the last patient was discharged, Graham wrote on Facebook, “We gave them world-class medical care and showed them God’s love and compassion. We want each one to know the hope that we have in Jesus Christ.”
At the White House National Day of Prayer Service in May, Brittany Akinsola, a nurse and a pastor who volunteered at the Samaritan’s Purse field hospital, thanked the group for giving her an opportunity to serve.
“And I will tell you that, just to be able to combine both my skills of nursing and the gifting of pastoring at such a time as this in our nation and to serve the people of New York City was truly one of the greatest honors of my life,” she said, quoting Galatians 6:9, which reads, “Let us not become weary of doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”