Samaritan’s Purse, an international disaster response ministry, recently set up one of its mobile field hospitals in New York City’s Central Park, in coordination with Mount Sinai Health System, in an effort to help support the city’s COVID-19 response.
The ministry had already established a mobile field hospital in one of Italy’s epicenters, but there was one more field hospital that could still be deployed. For Edward Graham, who serves on the disaster response team and is the son of Samaritan’s Purse CEO Franklin Graham, and others watching the coverage, the news coming out of New York was concerning. As a trained engineer, Edward knew that New York would be on a similar path with Italy.
“My father was still out of town, but we were looking at the same map and chart in New York City,” Edward said in an interview with The Daily Citizen. “I was trying to explain to my father that New York City is about to hit the same spot as Italy on the bell curve. This was a week or so ago before New York surpassed Italy. We had one more hospital remaining that we could deploy and we definitely didn’t want to be sitting on a resource that the Lord has entrusted us with. So, we reached out to New York City, the same way we did with Italy.”
The response was quick. After a phone call with President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, detailing the capability of the field hospital, Mount Sinai reached out to Samaritan’s Purse to help the local medical community to continue meeting the needs of patients and medical staff.
The development of a field hospital that could be deployed as a resource after a disaster began around the time of the Ebola outbreak in 2014. For years, Samaritan’s Purse has been sending medical professionals to disaster zones in addition to sending people trained to distribute water, food and other necessary resources. Having a field hospital was the next step, though no one anticipated that it would be used in the United States.
“I don’t think anyone ever thought that state leadership and the federal government would be so on fire that they are desperate for water,” Edward said. “This is a time where I think everyone needs every resource available to help contain the outbreak. Samaritan’s Purse has been entrusted with a name and reputation of serving those in the name of Jesus Christ. We’re now here in the U.S. because the need is so great.”
As a ministry, Samaritan’s Purse is supporting the Mount Sinai Health System in New York City. Years of building a reputation of excellence with work around the world in Ecuador, Iraq and the Bahamas meant that Mount Sinai knew that Samaritan’s Purse was an organization it wanted to partner with.
“I can’t brag on Mount Sinai enough, their leadership there in the hospital, their staff and even volunteers from the local church,” Edward said. “The Brooklyn Tabernacle Church came out and supplied us with volunteers, and the police, the firemen and everyone has bent over backwards to make this happen. It reminds me of the resolve in New York after 9/11. New Yorkers are tough people, but loving people. When something happens, they’re committed to making a difference and getting to work. We’ve definitely seen that at Mount Sinai.”
The field hospital has 68 beds, including 10 dedicated to treating patients in the ICU with ventilators, and about 70 staff members are there ready to serve the city.
“We’re going to love on everybody, doesn’t matter the sex, race or age,” Edward said. “Just as the Good Samaritan went to someone that no one else wanted to love or other people wanted to bypass, we will not bypass, we will share the hope and love of Jesus Christ.”
Please pray for the safety of the volunteers and employees—that they would be encouraged, despite the setbacks. Pray for the family members of those serving, that they would be comforted. Finally, pray for the platform that Samaritan’s Purse has to minister to men and women in the midst of a medical crisis.
Photo from Samaritan’s Purse