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Emergency Field Hospital Opens in the Bahamas to Care for COVID-19 Patients


Samaritan’s Purse today opened a 28-bed Emergency Field Hospital in Nassau, the Bahamas, to provide critical care to COVID-19 patients. The hospital was airlifted to the Bahamas on 15 October aboard our DC-8 cargo jet along with 14 tons of medical supplies and personal protective equipment. The treatment centre is set up immediately adjacent to Princess Margaret Hospital, our local medical partner.

“COVID-19 is a terrible disease, and it claims the lives of hundreds, thousands of people. The Bahamas was crying out for help,” said Elliott Tenpenny, director, Samaritan’s Purse International Health Unit. “We really count it as a privilege to come in at a point in time where a nation has a significant need and be able to care for the citizens.”

The Bahamas is experiencing a second wave of coronavirus cases, and Nassau’s Princess Margaret Hospital is overwhelmed. At the request of the Prime Minister, Samaritan’s Purse is coming alongside them to provide added capacity, medical care, and infection prevention and control training. When the Prime Minister visited the facility today, he remarked that he was very impressed with the operations and thankful for the additional bed space and high-level of care patients would soon receive.

Dr. Caroline Burnett Garroway, who serves as medical chief of staff at Princess Margaret Hospital, said that in her 30 years at the hospital she has never experienced anything like this. As an island nation, they are used to storms — in fact, one ward is currently closed due to recent hurricane damage — but nothing could have prepared them for this health crisis.

“With hurricanes, you know it’s coming — you build back and recover. But with COVID-19, so much is unknown. It’s wearing us down,” Dr. Garroway said.

The 420-bed facility at Princess Margaret Hospital is full. Initially, in March, when the outbreak began, they designated a small ward for coronavirus treatment and isolation. Slowly, they marked more and more spaces for COVID patients, but each ward is now holding double the number of patients initially intended. In addition to a lack of space, many of their healthcare providers have contracted the virus, and, sadly, two nurses and one doctor have died from it.

As our treatment unit received its first patients this afternoon, the Samaritan’s Purse medical team donned their personal protective equipment to provide physical care. Many of our doctors and nurses served at the specialised respiratory care units we set up earlier this year in New York City and Italy, so they bring firsthand experience to this crisis.

Please pray for the Samaritan’s Purse disaster assistance response team as they serve in Jesus’ Name.

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