Humanitarian relief organisation Samaritan's Purse has deployed an Emergency Field Hospital in the US state of California to help the region's healthcare system cope with an overwhelming number of Covid-19 patients.
Antelope Valley Hospital and the City of Lancaster sought the assistance of Samaritan’s Purse because of their experience in providing surge capacity in the wake of the pandemic. In response, the relief organisation is constructing a fully staffed 50+ bed field hospital - which will specialise in respiratory care - in the car park of Antelope Valley Hospital. This is the fifth Emergency Field Hospital that Samaritan’s Purse has deployed in response to the coronavirus, after a similar, 30-bed respiratory care unit was set up in western North Carolina on 7th January.
“As COVID cases are still on the rise, we are deploying a second Emergency Field Hospital in the U.S.—this time to California,” said Franklin Graham, president of Samaritan’s Purse. “We have the opportunity to help relieve some of the pressure from the healthcare system in Lancaster, and we’re thankful our team can come alongside them. Please pray for the frontline workers fighting COVID every single day.”
Los Angeles County, where Lancaster is located, has logged almost a million Covid-19 infections, with more than 12,000 deaths.
The hospital said that, given the intense pressure they are under to treat an increasing number of sick patients, they were immensely appreciative of Samaritan Purse's help.
“We are grateful for the support provided by Samaritan’s Purse, as we anticipate another surge of COVID patients in the coming weeks, the help couldn’t have been more timely,” said Ed Mirzabegian, Antelope Valley Hospital CEO. “We have also been humbled by the support of the community, as volunteers help set up tents and bring in supplies needed for the field hospital. We have faith that together we will overcome this.”
Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris added:
"When we heard Samaritan's Purse was willing to help us with the current COVID-19 crisis, I was beyond thankful. Samaritan's Purse is a Christian organization that helps those in need around the world.
"They have been instrumental in responding worldwide to this pandemic, and we are fortunate to have their support here in the City of Lancaster. God is so good.”
Antelope Valley Hospital hit the headlines before Christmas after one of its Covid patients was brutally murdered by his roommate. The 82-year-old victim, who has remained unnamed, was bludgeoned to death with an oxygen tank as he prayed. The attacker, identified as Jesse Martinez, 37, was reportedly angered by the elderly Catholic man's prayers and flew into a fit of rage, beating him to death.
"The suspect became upset when the victim started to pray. He then struck the victim with an oxygen tank," a sheriff's department statement said at the time.
Martinez was detained by hospital staff following the attack, arrested, and charged with murder, a hate crime enhancement, and elder abuse. Bail has been set at $1 million.
“These families were already experiencing a hardship and now this,” Mayor Parris said in response to the crime. “It’s senseless.”
According to officials, there was little that could be done to prevent the attack due to medical and security staff being restricted in their movement on the wards and overwhelmed with the number of patients requiring urgent attention.