Emergency Field Hospital Treating Hurricane Survivors in the Bahamas

September 11, 2019 • Bahamas
The Emergency Field Hospital is up and running in the Bahamas.

Our medical team is caring for patients in Freeport where flooding after Dorian forced hospitals and other medical facilities to close.

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Update (10:54 a.m., Sept. 11): Samaritan’s Purse treated more than 90 patients on the first full day of operations at our Emergency Field Hospital (Sept. 10). Please continue to pray for the people of the Bahamas and for our medical team members who are working long days caring for people in Jesus’ Name.

Lucinda Haven, her daughter Clarena, and grandson Abel weathered Hurricane Dorian inside a public shelter and avoided the dangers of flying glass, rising tides, and having to walk through miles of waist-high water.

Hurricane survivors, including Lucinda Haven, are being treated at our Emergency Field Hospital.

Hurricane survivors, including Lucinda Haven, are being treated at our Emergency Field Hospital.

Once they returned home, however, Lucinda stepped out of the back of a truck with her family, fell, and fractured the bones in her lower left leg. It was terrible timing as Grand Bahama’s healthcare system is desperately struggling to recover after the storm.

In response to this need, Samaritan’s Purse has opened an Emergency Field Hospital in Freeport, at the request of the World Health Organization and the government of the Bahamas. Our team is now standing in the gap to take the pressure off local medical facilities. Lucinda was the first patient upon our opening Tuesday morning (Sept. 10).

Within the first hour, more than a dozen other patients entered the mobile hospital seeking medical help.

“Plenty of people lost their families. Plenty of people are still missing. It’s a tragedy felt all over the Bahamas. We lost everything, our homes, but we still have life,” Lucinda said while being treated at our hospital.

With this Tier 2 facility in place, our team of surgeons, physicians, nurses, pharmaceutical staff, and biotech engineers will be able to provide medical care for more than 100 outpatient cases per day. There is bed space available for as many as 40 inpatients. The hospital can provide up to 10 surgeries per day.

Prayer is a vital part of the ministry of the Emergency Field Hospital.

Prayer is a vital part of the ministry of the Emergency Field Hospital.

Additionally, Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplains are on hand to provide spiritual and emotional care to patients and their families.

After Hurricane Dorian ravaged the Bahamas—especially Grand Bahama and the Abacos—many medical facilities were inundated by floodwaters, forcing them to close.

The regional hospital in Freeport, Rand Memorial Hospital, is normally the busiest medical center in the area, but it’s been crippled by power outages and damaged equipment. Many patients have had to go untreated, and others are hospitalized in wards woefully underequipped to handle their conditions.

Kelly Suter, a clinical manager for Samaritan’s Purse, says our Emergency Field Hospital is expected to stay busy while Rand Memorial gets back up to speed over the coming months.

“All of the electric has to be ripped out and the whole thing [Rand Memorial] has to be rebuilt before they can use it again,” she said. “They have no operating room and little space for patient care.”

Meeting a Variety of Medical Needs in Jesus’ Name

With excellent medical treatment as a platform, our teams are able to go deeper in their care for patients, praying with them and their loved ones and sharing the hope found only in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Shannon Wood, an intensive care nurse serving with Samaritan’s Purse, says this is why she went into medicine.

Our medical team is working to serve the people of the Bahamas in Jesus' Name.

Our medical team is working to serve the people of the Bahamas in Jesus’ Name.

“I think this is such an amazing opportunity to be here in the Bahamas to reach people for Jesus by providing healthcare to them,” she said. “I just love helping people when they need it most, and you cannot pick a time when people need healthcare and Jesus more.”

Dr. Elliott Tenpenny, medical director for the Emergency Field Hospital, says we will provide emergency and trauma care but that we will also help meet every day medical needs in Jesus’ Name.

“There are no operational hospitals on these islands, and there are people suffering not just from injuries from the hurricane but from normal day-to-day things,” Dr. Tenpenny said. “There are women who are giving birth all the time and nowhere to go. This is four islands with no medical care. They’ve experienced a great deal of suffering during this hurricane and we’re here to relieve a little bit of that suffering and to reach people for Jesus Christ.”

Samaritan’s Purse teams also are working in the Bahamas’ hardest-hit areas to provide shelter materials, water filters, hygiene kits, and other relief supplies.

Samaritan's Purse medical staff are treating patients in Freeport, the Bahamas.

Samaritan’s Purse medical staff treated numerous patients in Freeport, the Bahamas, during our first full day of operation.

Please continue to pray for hurting residents of the Bahamas. Many people have lost homes and loved ones and are reeling from so much devastation. Please also pray for our medical teams that God would use them to heal hurting, sick, and injured people in Jesus’ Name.

Note: This article was originally published on Sept. 10 and updated briefly on Sept. 11 and Sept. 24-25.

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Hurricane Relief Samaritan's Purse responds to the urgent needs of families devastated by the wind, rain, and storm surge of catastrophic hurricanes. Whether in the United States or abroad, we come alongside hurting people to bring emergency relief and practical help in the Name of Jesus Christ.

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