Samaritan's Purse Medical Staff Put on the Full Armor of God in Mississippi

August 26, 2021 • United States
Medical staff prepare for each shift with personal protective equipment and prayer.
Medical staff prepare for each shift with personal protective equipment and prayer.

Samaritan’s Purse doctors and nurses shine a light of hope in the global coronavirus hotspot.

Emergency Medicine
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Wash hands. Put on gloves. Secure N-95 mask. Slide on medical gown. Cover head with hair net. Don face shield. Put on second pair of gloves. Step into the “hot zone.”

Caring for COVID-19 patients is a daily spiritual battle that begins with prayer.

Caring for COVID-19 patients is a daily spiritual battle that begins with spiritual preparation.

This process has become a surreal but familiar routine for Samaritan’s Purse medical staff as we’ve now deployed six Emergency Field Hospitals, specialized as respiratory care units, around the world in response to COVID-19.

Nearly a year and a half since our first COVID-19 response to northern Italy in March of 2020, Samaritan’s Purse doctors and nurses are once again donning personal protective equipment (PPE) as we treat coronavirus patients in Jackson, Mississippi.

With each layer of gear they don to protect their physical body, Samaritan’s Purse medical staff also put on—through prayer—the full armor of God found in Ephesians 6. Spiritual strength and resilience are desperately needed as they care for coronavirus patients in Jesus’ Name.

“It feels like you are going into a war and you’re putting on all of these layers of armor,” said Taryn McCoy, Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) nurse. “Typically, people are praying out loud as they are donning. You take this deep breath and say, ‘I’m protected physically and God is with me.’”

The routine at the beginning of each shift gives doctors and nurses an opportunity to commit their work to God and His mission.

"You take this deep breath and say, ‘I’m protected physically and God is with me.’” --Nurse Taryn McCoy

“You take this deep breath and say, ‘I’m protected physically and God is with me.’” –Nurse Taryn McCoy

“It allows us to really set our minds on what we are going into and how God is going to work in that place too,” Taryn said.

On August 18, we accepted the first patient at our 32-bed Emergency Field Hospital, constructed in a parking garage adjacent to the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC).

Mississippi is the current global hotspot for the virus outbreak and area healthcare systems are overburdened. Beds are full, waiting lists are extensive, and reprieve for healthcare workers seems like a distant dream.

In total, our teams have treated 47 coronavirus patients while reminding them that God loves them and they are not forgotten.

From Skeptical to Grateful

One of our first patients, Shalonda Stevenson spent two weeks at UMMC, admitted with severe shortness of breath, dizziness, and lack of balance. When she was initially transferred to our field hospital, she was skeptical and frustrated.

Taryn celebrates with Shalonda the good news of Shalonda's vast improvement.

Taryn celebrates with Shalonda the good news of Shalonda’s vast improvement.

“I was upset about it. I was really, really upset about it,” Shalonda said of being moved into our mobile unit.

Taryn was one of the nurses that cared for Shalonda during her time at the Emergency Field Hospital. Slowly but surely, she started coming around and her oxygen levels started improving.

Over the next several days Shalonda’s countenance improved too, changing from one of frustration to one of gratitude and joy.

She said that the compassionate care she received from our medical team gave her a deeper understanding of God’s love. “They don’t know me and that’s what love is about: you don’t have to know people to love them or want the best for them,” she said. “I wouldn’t want to have to live this journey again but I will remember Samaritan’s Purse.”

Shalonda was the first patient discharged from our Emergency Field Hospital. As she departed, Samaritan’s Purse staff cheered her on—shouting encouragements and waving noisemakers. The smile on her face was a true sign of how far she had come both physically and emotionally.

“To see her walk out of here, it brings tears to your eyes.” Taryn said. “For the patients, those are the best moments because they are so proud of themselves and we are all cheering them on and you really feel a love for them. She was just smiling ear to ear.”

Please continue to pray for the health and safety of our teams in Mississippi and for our medical staff as they treat coronavirus patients in Jesus’ Name.

SUPPORT
We began today receiving patients at the respiratory care unit.
Emergency Medicine Your gift will enable Samaritan’s Purse to provide life-saving medical care (including doctors, nurses, respirators, and other essential equipment) in places where vulnerable communities are suffering in the wake of disaster or from outbreaks of infectious diseases like COVID-19. We also offer public health outreaches to prevent the spread of life-threatening illnesses. Most importantly, we are able to bring the Gospel message of eternal hope to those who are suffering and afraid.

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