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Emergency Field Hospital Cares for COVID-19 Patients in the Bahamas


As the Bahamas experienced a deadly second wave of the coronavirus, Samaritan’s Purse came alongside the island nation to provide an Emergency Field Hospital and critical Infection Prevention Control (IPC) training. In partnership with Nassau’s Princess Margaret Hospital, Samaritan’s Purse doctors and nurses offered critical care at a 28-bed field hospital, specially designed to treat COVID-19.

Fred, a patient at our Emergency Field Hospital, shared that his entire family was devastated by the highly contagious coronavirus. In mid-October, he noticed that his 90-year-old father, who lives with him, wasn’t feeling well. He had a high fever and developed a severe cough. Fred took him to the hospital where he was then diagnosed with the coronavirus. In the span of a week, Fred and two of his sisters also tested positive for the virus.

While physically separated, his family fought the virus together — encouraging each other on the phone with prayer and Scripture. Fred was treated at the Samaritan’s Purse centre, which was set up in the parking lot of Princess Margaret Hospital, while his father received care at the main hospital.

Sadly, Fred’s two sisters lost their fight against COVID-19 — dying from the disease just three days apart. This happened while Fred and his father remained reliant on oxygen support in the hospital.

Still grieving the loss of his sisters, Fred was adamant that he and his father would beat the virus. He talked to his dad on the phone every single day, encouraging him to listen to his nurses, eat his meals and rest. He was determined not to lose more people he loves to the virus.

Both strong Christians, Fred said, “We’re going to make it. I’ve got faith.” In addition to sharing encouraging words, they prayed together each day. He said the first thing that he wanted to do upon being released from the field hospital is “give God all the glory and the praise.” This is what he said he looked forward to the most.

Our doctors and nurses look forward to those days for patients, too. “The most rewarding part of this response is when patients walk out that door,” said Dr. Bob Spencer, a Samaritan’s Purse medical team member.

Fred said that he has been so thankful for the care he has received from Samaritan’s Purse staff. He recognises that their concern goes beyond just physical relief, but that each doctor and nurse provides quality treatment in Jesus’ Name.

UPDATE: We praise God that Fred has been discharged from the hospital and is doing well. Our last patient was discharged on 5 November, when facility operations were handed over to Princess Margaret Hospital.

Helping Caregivers

COVID-19 is a difficult disease to deal with for medical personnel in any country — physically and emotionally. Patricia Newbold, a senior nursing officer at Princess Margaret Hospital, said, “Basically, we are just praying for life. We’ve seen so many people die — the young, the old, the in-between.” Beyond the tragic death of patients, Nassau’s main hospital has also lost two nurses and a physician to the virus. They are fearful and bracing for more as numbers climb.

That’s why Samaritan’s Purse was also actively involved with IPC training in the Bahamas. Pulling on past experience treating COVID-19 in Italy and New York City and other infectious diseases such as Ebola, cholera and diphtheria, Samaritan’s Purse trained and equipped Bahamian medical personnel to safely provide care, including how to properly put on and take off Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and providing recommendations on properly isolating COVID patients.

Samaritan’s Purse trained more than 800 healthcare professionals in proper IPC measures. This included a virtual training that reached 36 local clinics across 26 islands.

Please continue praying for medical staff in the Bahamas as they care for coronavirus patients. Pray for comfort and healing for these patients.

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