Emergency Field Hospital Opens in Southern California

18th January 2021

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Our mobile medical unit in Los Angeles County is open and receiving COVID-19 patients.

Updated 18 Jan: Our Emergency Field Hospital has opened in Lancaster and our medical team is treating patients. We expect a steady influx of patients to arrive over the next several days.

Samaritan’s Purse President Franklin Graham traveled to Los Angeles County to see final preparations before our Emergency Field Hospital opens. Samaritan’s Purse is partnering with Antelope Valley Hospital in Lancaster for this response and we have set up on their premises.

“This is what we do—we respond in Jesus’ Name,” Franklin Graham said. “All of this comes from God’s people, who have provided the funds, so we just give glory to Him.”

Franklin Graham toured the Emergency Field Hospital in Los Angeles County alongside Dr. Elliott Tenpenny, director of the Samaritan’s Purse International Health Unit

Franklin Graham toured the Emergency Field Hospital in Los Angeles County alongside Dr. Elliott Tenpenny, director of the Samaritan’s Purse International Health Unit

Our DC-8 cargo jet airlifted much of the equipment needed for the hospital, while the tents were transported by a Samaritan’s Purse tractor trailer from our warehouse in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina. Patients treated at our site will be limited to those who are sick with the novel coronavirus but do not need the support of a ventilator.

Speaking to the DART (disaster assistance response team), Graham encouraged them: “Remember, we are here for one purpose: To lift up the Name of Jesus Christ. We want to love the people of this community with God’s love.”

Our team of highly trained medical personnel stand ready to provide quality, compassionate care to every patient who is admitted to our facility.

“The coordination from the initial call to where we are today, has been swift and amazing. There has been remarkable synergy between the groups involved, and we couldn’t be more thankful,” said Ed Mirzabegian, Antelope Valley Hospital CEO. “The Samaritan’s Purse team has been working diligently to get the Field Hospital fully functional; and I’m sure they are eager, as are we, to start treating COVID patients. I know this will relieve enormous pressure from within our main hospital.”

Kelly Sites, medical director for our response in Los Angeles County, said our mobile unit will help lessen the tremendous pressure that has continued to build for the Antelope Valley staff. Kelly is among more than 60 Disaster Assistance Response Team members on the ground.

Franklin Graham speaks with Samaritan’s Purse DART members, Kelly Sites (right) and Kelly Hormez (left).

Franklin Graham speaks with Samaritan’s Purse DART members, Kelly Sites (right) and Kelly Hormez (left).

Like many of our nurses and doctors in California, Kelly has extensive experience on the frontlines fighting infectious diseases. She served with our team in Cremona, Italy, early last year when we set up an Emergency Field Hospital during the height of the coronavirus pandemic in that country, as well as in Liberia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo during Ebola outbreaks.

“Jesus tells us to count the costs and that’s what I do, and my family counts it, too, when they let me go,” Kelly said. “Saying no wasn’t an option, knowing the need is here and our team needs people to say yes.”

Kelly asked for prayer for both the staff at Antelope Valley as well as the people who desperately need medical care. “The hospital staff are so tired—overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients and a very high death toll in this area.”

Our team together with Franklin Graham at the California Emergency Field Hospital.

Our team together with Franklin Graham at the California Emergency Field Hospital.

More than 12,000 coronavirus patients have died so far in Los Angeles County alone. And, every minute, 10 more people throughout the county are testing positive for the coronavirus.

Please pray for our teams as we prepare to accept COVID-19 patients this week. Pray that these patients will be comforted by the peace and love of Jesus Christ.

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